Takata Exploding Airbag Linked to Death of Teenager

Honda Accord driver died in July after the car’s airbag exploded; it’s the eighth U.S. death attributed to a faulty Takata inflator.

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The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has connected an eighth U.S. death to a ruptured airbag manufactured by Japanese supplier Takata. NHTSA’s communications director, Gordon Trowbridge, says the driver of a 2001 Honda Accord died in July after the car’s Takata airbag exploded during an accident near Pittsburg. Trowbridge also confirmed that the driver was a teenager.

Some 23 million airbag inflators from Takata have been recalled since 2008, when it was discovered that they may produce excessive pressure, rupture, and spray metal shrapnel. Roughly 19 million vehicles from a dozen automakers are affected, making this the largest automotive recall in U.S. history. More than 100 people have been injured thus far.

A wide range of models is affected, most from 2000-2011, including BMW, Chevy, Chrysler, Daimler, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Honda/Acura, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan/Infiniti, Pontiac, Saab, Subaru, and Toyota/Lexus. As of Wednesday, Honda has expanded its Takata recall, as has NHTSA, which now includes passenger side airbags on the ‘05-‘08 Mazda Mazda6, the ’02-’04 Honda CR-V and ’05-’08 Subaru Legacy/Outback.

How can you make sure you’re car’s safe? First, run the VIN through safecar.gov’s search engine. Then do the same for your parents. And kids. And friends. Also, know that cars in high-humidity climates are much more likely to be affected by a rupturing Takata inflator.