The driver of a 2002 Honda Civic in Arizona equipped with a defective airbag lost his life after becoming involved in a traffic accident. The death was the 17th traffic fatality linked to the Takata airbag since its first use in the United States.
Problems with the airbag led to the largest product recall in U.S. automotive history. A total of 56 million airbags are part of the recall effort of the manufacturer.
The car involved in the latest fatality involving the Takata airbag is one of seven Honda models manufactured in the early 2000s that include the defective airbags. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that about 50% percent of the airbags will fail when deployed. When a failure happens, the airbags rupture and send shrapnel throughout the car.
The deaths involved with the airbag are not limited to Honda or the United States. Almost 30 people have died as a result of Takata airbag malfunctions worldwide. Other countries that have experienced fatalities after crashes involving the airbags include Australia and Malaysia. Two U.S. deaths involving the airbags involved Ford vehicles. Another Arizona Honda driver in a car equipped with the Takata airbag lost their life in the summer of 2018.
Honda agreed to an $85 million settlement in August 2020 in acknowledgment of the fact the company possessed knowledge of the dangers involving the defective airbags before the recall.
Takata filed bankruptcy after the U.S. government fined the company $1 billion to go along with several lawsuits filed against the auto supplier. Other suppliers have stepped forward with replacements for the defective airbags. At this time, the defective airbags are still in use by one in three of the vehicles originally equipped with them.
Companies are responsible for ensuring that the products they sell and manufacture are safe to use before the product ever reaches the hand of a consumer. Companies that fail at fulfilling this responsibility may be held liable for any injuries or hardships experienced by users of the products. Individuals who have suffered injury or loss due to a product they purchased may be able to find the relief they deserve through a consultation with an attorney.