Defective Takata Airbags Blamed for 11th U.S. Death

An 11th person has died in a car crash involving a rupture of a recalled Takata airbag inflator, federal regulators recently confirmed.

The latest death involved a 50 year-old woman who was driving a 2001 Honda Civic in Riverside, Calif., on Sept. 30 when her car crashed and the airbag failed to deploy properly. The vehicle was recalled in 2008 but never repaired.

In June, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warned drivers of older model Honda and Acura vehicles to stop driving them immediately. Included in the list were 2001-2002 Honda Civic models.

Nearly 70 million airbag inflators, manufactured by Japanese supplier, have been recalled, making it the largest automotive recall in U.S. history. The airbags can rupture or explode with excessive force and shoot metal shrapnel into vehicle occupant compartments.

Federal regulators said that inflator ruptures are “far more likely” in vehicles located in high humidity areas such as Florida, Teas and Southern California. At least 14 deaths and more than 100 injuries worldwide have been linked to the defective airbags found in nearly every major car brand.

Even worse, automakers are still selling new vehicles in the U.S. with defective Takata airbags despite knowing the serious risk they pose to consumers. This means consumers are unknowingly purchasing vehicles that eventually will be recalled, and in the meantime, are driving ticking time bombs that put them at risk of being severely injured or killed.

The vehicles continue to be sold despite a mandate to recall all affected vehicles by 2018. Public disclosure of all new vehicles that will need to be recalled is not mandated.

“Still, if the airbags in these vehicles cause serious injury or death, they could be subject to lawsuits,” said Langdon & Emison partner David Brose.

Consumers are urged to check their vehicle identification numbers on safercar.gov to see if their vehicles are included in the Takata recall. If purchasing a new vehicle, consumers should ensure they it is not equipped with a Takata airbag.

Contact Langdon & Emison

A national leader in auto product defect cases, Langdon & Emison represents clients nationwide in Takata airbag cases. If you or a loved one has been injured by a Takata airbag, contact our firm at 800-397-4910, click on the chat button or complete an online form.