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Takata Recalls 2.7M Airbags After Finding Drying Agent Doesn't Prevent Ruptures

12 July 2017

Honda Motor Co said Monday it had confirmed an 11th USA death involving one of its vehicles tied to a faulty Takata Corp air bag inflator.

Honda said the car's ignition switch was on, so the air bag would have been ready.

Honda says its service procedures recommend disconnecting the battery when working on the air bag system.

Police photos show the metal airbag inflator exploded and shot out fragments of metal.

It's the 12th USA death attributed to the faulty inflators and 17th worldwide, including five in Malaysia.

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In its press release, Honda makes it clear that the vehicle in this incident had been recalled multiple times, and that it had been included in the Takata "Alpha" driver's airbag safety campaign. The spokesman noted that there is a deceleration sensor that activates the air bags mounted on the wall between the engine and passenger compartment.

The problem touched off the largest automotive recall in USA history involving up to 69 million inflators and 42 million vehicles.

US Air Force lieutenant, Stephanie Erdman, was injured in one eye when a defective airbag deployed in her vehicle during a 2013 crash. Of those deaths, 16 occurred in Honda vehicles since May 2009.

The airbags on the following Hondas models have up to a 50% chance of exploding in a crash: 2001 and 2002 Accord and Civic, the 2002 CR-V and Odyssey, the 2002 and 2003 Acura 3.2 TL, the 2003 Acura 3.2 CL and the 2003 Pilot. Honda says it has sufficient supplies of replacement inflators available to fix all of its recalled vehicles.

Honda urged owners who have received recall notices to get repairs made as soon as possible, especially those with the most risky type of inflator.

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The latter happened near Miami, Florida, in June of 2016 and, unfortunately, the airbag the person triggered happened to be a recalled Takata unit, which was filled with ammonium nitrate propellent known to explode violently after being exposed to high humidity.

While the incident doesn't seem to have occurred in a professional fix setting, it should be a stark reminder for all shops: Follow OEM guidelines not just to protect the vehicle owner, but the technician as well.

Scott Caudill, chief operating officer of TK Holdings, Takata's U.S. unit, said in a court affidavit last month in its bankruptcy filing that the company "faces insurmountable claims" relating to the recalls and owes billions of dollars to automakers.

Last month, Takata filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy listing liabilities of over 10-billion dollars.

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Takata Recalls 2.7M Airbags After Finding Drying Agent Doesn't Prevent Ruptures