Two more deaths from Takata airbags reported
Two Honda drivers die from neck injuries caused by degraded propellant in airbags
Two fatal accidents in Malaysia have been linked to Takata-made airbags, bringing the number of worldwide fatalities associated with the defective airbags to 13.
“Honda has confirmed that the Takata single stage (SDI) driver’s airbag inflators ruptured in two crashes in April and May respectively in Malaysia,” the company said in a statement. “Both crashes resulted in the tragic deaths of the drivers. No official cause of death has been yet determined for either case. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the families of the drivers during this difficult time.”
One crash occurred on April 16 in Sabah state, when an airbag inflator in a 2006 Honda City ruptured during a crash. The Honda City is a compact sedan positioned below the Civic, versions of which are also under recall. Honda says the recall for that vehicle was announced in May 2015, though the company made no statement as to the severity of the crash itself or other victims.
The second crash took place in Kedah state on May 1 and involved an inflator in a 2003 Honda City.
“Honda is communicating with representatives of the drivers’ families in an effort to resolve their remaining concerns,” the automaker said in a statement this week. The automaker notes the recall for that model was announced in December 2014.
The two deaths in Malaysia followed two recent deaths in late 2015 and early 2016 in the U.S. that were also linked to Takata-produced airbags. In March, a 17-year-old driver of a 2002 Honda Civic died from shrapnel injuries to her neck when she drove into the back of a Honda CR-V at a traffic light. Police described the collision itself as having caused only moderate damage to the victim’s car, though the airbags deployed. In late December of last year, a man driving a 2006 Ford Ranger pickup died from similar injuries following a collision with a cow on the road.
Earlier this week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced a historic recall of 35 million to 40 million Takata-made airbag inflators that will take place in stages over the next three and a half years; all Takata-made airbags that do not use a drying agent will be replaced. The lack of a desiccant in ammonium nitrate propellant has been cited as a crucial factor in the degradation of the propellant due to humidity, temperature swings and age, according to research cited by NHTSA. The expanded recall campaign joined approximately 29 million other vehicles already under recall, though details of the 35 million to 40 million vehicles are yet to be published.
View the current list of recalled vehicles here.