Monday, June 22, 2015

Honda confirms eighth Takata air-bag-linked fatality.

The Los Angeles Times (6/20, Hirsch, 4.03M) reports that on Friday Honda confirmed the eighth death due to faulty Takata air bags. This one involved the rupture of an air bag inflator in the crash of a rented 2001 Honda Civic on Sept. 7, 2014. The family of victim Jewel Brangman, 26, filed suit earlier this year alleging “both Takata and Honda had known for years that there were problems with the air bag inflators and should have moved more quickly to fix the vehicles.” Brangman died after suffering “a laceration to the left side of her neck and a severe brain injury.” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind commented on this latest case. He said, “The fact that this was a rental vehicle that had not been remedied is more evidence for why we are seeking authority to prohibit sale or rental of any vehicle with an open safety recall.”
        Bloomberg News (6/19, 3.81M) notes that the NHTSA has been attempting “to speed the pace of repairs for a lingering defect that’s now estimated to affect about 34 million air-bag inflators.” In this latest case, the car “had been recalled multiple times,” first in 2009, then 2013, and twice in 2014. Honda said, “Four mailed notifications of the July 2009 recall were sent to registered owners of this vehicle starting in August 2009.” Word of the 2013 recall went to the car’s “current registered owner,” a rental company based in San Diego.

        The New York Times (6/20, Tabuchi, Subscription Publication, 12.24M) notes that “Honda has acknowledged that it was first alerted to the airbag defect in 2004, but started recalling a small number of cars only in 2008.” Currently, companies aren’t mandated “to repair used or rental cars that are under recall before they sell or rent them” or to disclose any vehicle recalls to customers. Legislation on the issue is opposed by many auto industry representatives. The Wall Street Journal (6/20, Armental, Subscription Publication, 5.68M) also covers the story. 

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