The unidentified U.S. man died after the airbag abruptly deployed while the Honda was being repaired
A Hialeh, Florida man was working inside his 2001 Honda Accord, using a hammer to conduct his repairs in June 2016.
The airbag deployed and the metal inflator ruptured, expelling fragments of metal.
Although the car’s ignition switch was on (the air bag thus ready in case of a crash), it is not clear why it deployed.
Honda stated that they as of yet have been unable to examine the car and will rely on photos taken by the police to determine what happened.
The man’s death will be the 12th in the U.S. due to faulty airbags, and the 17th worldwide. 180 have been injured in the U.S.
Honda was targeted by numerous class action lawsuits after it was discovered inflators made by Takata, when exposed to hot-and-cold temperatures or prolonged humidity, could have fatal malfunctions.
Affected inflators could blow apart the metal canister attached to the airbag and essentially turn into a shrapnel bomb.
Largest automotive recall in U.S. history
Roughly 70 million inflators and 42 million Takata vehicles were recalled in the U.S., and Takata filed for bankruptcy in both Japan and the U.S.
The 2001 Honda Accord that was being repaired by the deceased has the most dangerous type of Takata’s side air bags, which have a 50% chance of blowing apart during a crash.
Recall notices were sent out to owners possessing at-risk vehicles stating “Our records indicate that the recall repair was never completed on this vehicle.”
Honda urged any owners of vehicles with Takata airbags to heed the notice, or at the least to take the precaution of disconnecting the battery when working with the airbag system.
Honda has stated it has sufficient replacement inflators to fix all recalled vehicles.