Check your VIN, because you might be driving a vehicle with a defective Takata airbag inflator. Honda confirmed the 17th death in the United States related to this recall in a grim reminder that not every affected vehicle has received the free-of-charge fix that could save lives. The latest incident took place in Mesa, Arizona, on Aug. 20, and resulted in the death of the driver of a 2002 Honda Civic.
Defective Takata airbags are tied to 26 deaths and almost 300 injuries globally. Most of the deaths occurred in Honda vehicles but two were in Fords. Overall, the recall covers about 100 million inflators with recalls issued by 19 automakers around the world.
The defect could cause the airbag inflator to rupture, sending metal fragments into the cabin. The initial recall ballooned over the years as more vehicles were identified as using the affected airbag. It also expanded upon the realization the driver-side airbags were not the only units affected, as passenger-side airbags were soon caught up in the recall. Even some of the replacement airbags had to be swapped out as the industry raced to pinpoint the problem and manufacture enough safe airbags to fix the millions of affected vehicles.
This latest crash involved a vehicle that had been under recall since December 2011 to replace the driver’s side airbag inflator and a second recall was issued in November 2014 to replace the inflator on the passenger’s side. To see if your vehicle has an outstanding recall, enter your VIN on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website to see if there are issues that need attention.
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