Twelfth Death Linked To Ruptured Takata Airbag In Honda Accord

Image courtesy of Samuel M. Livingston

A twelfth death has been linked to the deployment of a shrapnel-shooting Takata airbag, marking the 11th such incident in a Honda vehicle. 

Honda today revealed that it has linked the June 2016 death of a Florida man to the rupture of a recalled Takata airbag in a 2001 Honda Accord.

Unlike previous deaths and injuries linked to Takata’s airbags, the Accord vehicle was not involved in an accident at the time of the incident.

Instead, the rupture occurred while the man — who was not the vehicle owner — was attempting to perform unknown repairs inside the car.

The vehicle, Honda says in a statement, has been included in multiple recalls as well as a safety campaign related to its original defective Takata “Alpha” driver’s airbag inflator.

Twelve mailed recall notices were sent over the course of nearly seven years to registered owners of this vehicle prior to the June 2016 incident. Records indicate that the recall repair was never completed on this vehicle.

According to Honda, the man was using a hammer while the ignition switch was in the “on” position. This led to the triggered activation of the airbag inflator, which ruptured during deployment of the airbag. The man died the following day as a result of his injuries.

Honda notes that it is difficult to determine whether the cause of death in this incident was the inflator rupture, or an interaction of the hammer with the deploying airbag.

“While the absolute cause of death may never be fully determined, Honda now considers this to be the 11th confirmed fatality in its vehicles related to Takata airbag inflator ruptures in the U.S.,” the carmaker said.

The Florida death makes the eleventh in a Honda vehicle in the U.S. Ford is the only other carmaker to have a vehicle involved in a Takata-related death. Earlier this year, the Dec. 22 death of a Georgia man driving a Ford Ranger pickup was linked to airbag shrapnel.