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Takata Airbags: Another Death Confirmed

2002 Honda Accord Sedan | Photo: Honda
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Daniel Rufiange
If you drive an older vehicle equipped with Takata airbags, make sure to have them removed

•    A road fatality recorded last February has been attributed to the presence of faulty Takata airbags.

•    The victim was driving a 2002 Honda Accord.

•    U.S. authorities are urging owners of unrepaired vehicles to get the fixes done as soon as possible.

Sadly, we can add another victim to the list of those who died as a result of shrapnel from defective airbags made by now-defunct manufacturer Takata. U.S. authorities confirmed on Friday that the death of the driver of a 2002 Honda Accord last February in Bowling Green, Kentucky, was linked to the now-infamous airbag.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) once again is urging owners of vehicles that may be equipped with the air bags to have the necessary repairs made. 

The new confirmed fatality brings the total to 33 since 2009. In the United States, the number is now 23. And that's not counting the hundreds of injuries. Remember that the inflators in these airbags can explode and release potentially deadly metal shrapnel inside vehicles. The older the airbags are, the more at risk they are. As long as vehicles equipped with them are on the road, deaths will continue to occur. 

This year alone, there have been four confirmed Takata-related deaths, including two related to Stellantis vehicles and one to Ford.

Since the problem first surfaced, Honda has recorded the most fatalities, as it had the most Takata airbags in its vehicles. 

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Over the past 10 years or so, over 100 million Takata airbags have been recalled worldwide, the largest automotive safety campaign in history. The problem is that millions of models that have not been repaired are still on the road. NHTSA is urging owners to check the condition of their vehicles and contact manufacturers to schedule a repair. It's all free, of course.

Honda said the 2002 Accord involved in the Kentucky crash was recalled in 2011 and the Japanese automaker made more than 300 attempts to reach the owner who bought the car in 2008. The repair was never completed.

So the car had been on the road for 14 years. 

Last month, Stellantis asked owners of 276,000 older U.S. vehicles to stop driving their vehicle immediately after three deaths related to defective Takata airbags were reported this year. NHTSA has confirmed two of the three fatalities. The models affected by the do-not-drive recommendation were the Dodge Magnum, Dodge Challenger, and Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 from the 2005-to-2010 model-years. The vehicles had been recalled, but some have not yet been repaired. 

If you drive one of these vehicles that has never been repaired, the risk remains that you could suffer the same fate as the owner of the 2002 Honda Accord. 

Don't hesitate to contact your dealer if you have any doubts about your older vehicle. The problem was discovered in 2013.

Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists