On Wednesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that yet another motorist has died as a result of a defective Takata airbag.
The death toll from Takatas faulty airbags has now reached nine worldwide, with eight of the deaths occurring in the United States.
The most recent victim was a passenger in a 2001 Honda Accord that was involved in a car accident near Pittsburgh, PA in July of this year. When the crash occurred, the vehicles driver-side airbag exploded, sending metal shrapnel throughout the cars interior.
The victim, who was only identified as a young relative of the cars driver, sustained severe injuries from the airborne metal fragments and died several days after the crash.
NHTSA officials first learned of the airbag-related fatality this month, after a lawyer contacted the administration on behalf of the victims family.
When notified of the crash, representatives from Honda claim to have sent several recall notices to the previous owner of the 2001 Accord between 2010 and 2012, but the owner failed to have the airbag repaired.
Honda also claims to have mailed an additional recall notice to the cars current owner, just one day before the fatal crash occurred.
More Vehicles Subject To Takata Airbag Recall
In addition to disclosing the most recent fatal crash, NHTSA officials announced an expansion of current recalls to include hundreds of thousands of Honda, Mazda and Subaru vehicles.
The new Takata airbag recalls are being issued for the following vehicles:
- 2005-2008 Subaru Legacy
- 2005-2008 Subaru Outback
- 2005-2008 Mazda 6
- 2002-2004 Honda CR-V
The latest recalls, in addition to the millions of recalls that have already been issued, require the replacement of the airbag inflation device, which contains the propellant ammonium nitrate, a volatile chemical that can cause the airbag to explode upon impact.
NHTSA safety regulators have expressed concern over the safety of using ammonium nitrate as an airbag propellant, stating the stability of the chemical has yet to be proven. Unless Takata can verify its propellant is safe to use, NHTSA officials plan on recalling all airbags with inflation devices that contain ammonium nitrate. In doing so, the already widespread recall will expand to cover an almost indefinite amount of vehicles worldwide.
To date, NHTSA has fined Takata $70 million for failing to disclose the defective airbags in a timely manner, and has warned that the penalty could reach $130 million if Takata does not speed up the repair process to meet recall demand.
If you or your family have been affected by a defective Takata airbag, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The personal injury lawyers at the law offices of O’Connor, Acciani and Levy have decades of experience and will fight tirelessly against manufacturers in your defense. All of our initial consultations are free, and we only get paid if you win. Contact us today.