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Exploding Air Bag Kills Yet Another, This Time in SC

Driver of Honda Accord died in January; this is the 19th US death linked to Takata air bags since 2009
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 22, 2021 8:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – A driver in South Carolina is the latest person to be killed by an exploding Takata air bag inflator. Honda said Wednesday that a faulty driver's air bag blew apart in a crash involving a 2002 Honda Accord in Lancaster County, SC, per the AP. The company wouldn't give details of the Jan. 9 crash near Charlotte, NC, nor would it identify the person who was killed. Honda officials and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration inspected the car and the air bag parts on Wednesday and determined that the inflator had ruptured, the company said. Honda said the Accord was recalled in April 2011. Starting in June 2011, the company made more than 100 attempts to reach owners of the car, which has changed ownership several times, per a spokesman, who notes the current owner was sent a recall notice on Nov. 17, 2020. Per a statement from the company, "our records indicate that the recall repair was never completed."

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The company said the driver who was killed wasn't the registered owner, and that it doesn't know if the driver knew of the recall. The death is the 19th in the US since 2009 and the 28th worldwide caused by the faulty inflators. Takata used volatile ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate air bags in a crash. The chemical can become more volatile over time, however, when exposed to moisture in the air. The explosion can blow apart a metal canister and hurl shrapnel into the passenger compartment. The problem caused the largest series of auto recalls in US history, with at least 63 million inflators recalled. The US government says that as of last year, more than 11.1 million hadn't been fixed. About 100 million inflators have been recalled worldwide. Drivers can check to see if their vehicles have been recalled by going to www.nhtsa.gov/recalls and keying in their 17-digit vehicle identification number.

(Read more air bag stories.)

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