On Friday, Honda confirmed a 16th death in the United States related to known issues with air bag inflators produced by a company called Takata, Reuters reports. Honda said that after working with individuals from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), they were able to validate concerns that it was indeed a faulty Takata air bag inflator which resulted in the 2018 death of a driver during a crash in Buckeye, Arizona. The vehicle in question was a 2002 Honda Civic.
Prior to the incident in Arizona, the last confirmed death in the United States was in July of 2017, when a Florida woman suffered a similar tragedy.
The defect can cause the car's airbag inflators to rupture, sending metal fragments of the hardware flying at high speeds in the direction of the vehicle's occupants. Because Takata was a major supplier of air bag components for a variety of major vehicle manufacturers, the defect has led to the largest automotive recall in U.S. history. So far, Takata airbags have been identified as the cause of 16 deaths, with 14 occurring in Honda vehicles and two more in vehicles made by Ford.
Worldwide there have been more than 290 injuries reported and at least another seven deaths outside of the U.S. With 19 automakers having used Takata air bags, more than 100 million vehicles around the world are potentially affected.So far, 56 million have been recalled in the U.S. alone. Takata has pleaded guilty to a felony charge of wire fraud related to the recall and filed for bankruptcy in 2017.
With so many vehicles affected, there is a good chance that any given vehicle may have the faulty air bag hardware. As a result, NHTSA has created a comprehensive resource page that includes a great deal of information about the recall, including search functions to determine if your vehicle is affected.
"Tens of millions of vehicles with Takata air bags are under recall. Long-term exposure to high heat and humidity can cause these air bags to explode when deployed. Such explosions have caused injuries and deaths. NHTSA urges vehicle owners to take a few simple steps to protect themselves and others from this very serious threat to safety," it says on the website.
The site provides visitors the ability to check for this or other recalls by searching a vehicle identification number (VIN). You may also sign up for text-based recall alerts to be notified about future problems as soon as possible. The site also provides tips and advice for getting recalls resolved through local dealerships, free of charge.