Honda Reports Texas Driver Is 10th Killed by Faulty Airbag
Honda has reported the 10th U.S. death from a faulty Takata airbag is a juvenile from Texas. 24 million vehicles from 14 automakers have been recalled due to the faulty airbags.
A 17 year-old driver in Fort Bend County, Texas was killed on March 31st according to a statement from Honda Wednesday. According to the statement, police, federal highway safety officials and Takata representatives all concluded, "the Takata driver's airbag inflator ruptured... resulting in the tragic death of the driver."
The vehicle involved in the accident had been recalled for faulty airbags. The Takata airbags in question are being recalled due to the possibility of dangerous airbag explosions. These explosions can release shrapnel into the vehicle causing harm to the driver and occupants. Honda said in the statement that the registered owner of the vehicle had been sent recall notices for several years.
The victim is a female high school senior from Richmond, Texas. Her vehicle ran into the back of a Honda CR-V that was waiting to make a left hand turn. According to the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Deputy Danny Beckwith, the driver wasn't speeding and was wearing her seat belt during the accident. The crash only resulted in moderate damage to her car and "everybody should have walked away" from the accident. Beck with said that shrapnel punctured the air bag and sliced the woman's neck and artery. The young woman was pronounced dead at the scene.
The process to switch out the airbags is quick and easy but due to the sheer size of the recall getting the parts is difficult. Some dealers have gone to other suppliers to get replacements. High humidity areas, like places in Texas, have been given high priority because high humidity can make the bags more unstable.
Karl Brauer, senior director of insights at Kelley Blue Book, had this advice for owners of vehicles with the faulty airbags,
"As a driver of a car that has one of these airbags, all you can do is wait for the repair and hope that the bag doesn't fire. And if it does, hope that no shrapnel comes out, and if that happens, hope that it's not fatal," said Brauer. "It's a bad situation."