Takata Recalling Another 2.7 Million Faulty Airbags

2001 Honda Accord

Another person has died as a result of an exploding Takata airbag, though in this case the vehicle involved wasn't even in a crash.

Honda did not identify the deceased, but said the individual was on June 18, 2016, "attempting to perform unknown repairs inside the vehicle using a hammer while the ignition switch was in the "on" position".

The company said the man, who was not the owner of the auto, was performing repairs that involved using a hammer while the vehicle's ignition switch was in the "on" position. The airbag had deployed and "the rupture most likely contributed to his death", says a Honda rep. In the report, the automaker says police photos show the exploded inflator and metal fragments.

The company did not release the name of the man out of respect for his family, but confirmed that he was not the car's owner and he was working on the vehicle at a private residence.

All told, 12 people in the US and 17 worldwide have been killed by the defective inflators. The Accord in question was one of more than 300,000 un-repaired Honda vehicles still on the road equipped with the defective airbag inflators. Martin noted that there is a deceleration sensor that activates the air bags mounted on the wall between the engine and passenger compartment.

The recall, which comes in addition to the 42 million inflators Takata previously recalled, covers airbag inflators made from 2005 to 2012 and used in certain Nissan, Mazda, and Ford vehicles.

Honda said the vehicle's registered owners had received at least 12 recall notices but never got recommended repairs.

In January, Takata pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges related to its handling of the air bag defects and agreed to pay a US$1 billion (S$1.39 billion) fine. The airbag inflator ruptured after it deployed. "Our records indicate that the recall fix was never completed on this vehicle", Honda said in a statement. Chris Martin, a Honda spokesman, said in an email the company learned of the incident through a legal claim in March.

According to Honda, Alpha inflators can have as high as a 50-50 chance of exploding and injuring an occupant.

The inflators, which were either originally used in the vehicles or used as replacements after a crash, differ from Takata's previous recalls because they contain calcium sulfate, a chemical meant to be a drying agent.

Honda urged owners who have received recall notices to get repairs made as soon as possible, especially those with the most unsafe type of inflator.

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