Takata recalls another 2.7M airbags

Honda Accord

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 says it recently learned about an incident on June 18, 2016, in which a man was using a hammer to make repairs on a 2001 Honda Accord when the airbag inflator activated and ruptured, sending metal fragments flying.

The company said the man, who was not the owner of the auto, was performing repairs that involved using a hammer while the vehicle's ignition switch was in the "on" position. The company has not been able to inspect the vehicle and is relying on police photos to make its determination, Honda spokesman Chris Martin said.

In other words, the chemical can break down over time, becoming less effective in preventing violent airbag inflator ruptures that have been linked to at least 12 deaths in the U.S.

More than 65 percent of 46.2 million previously recalled Takata airbag inflators in the United States have not been repaired. The new 2.7 million air bag inflators being recalled involve a drying agent, but Takata said testing showed ruptures could still take place.

Takata inflator ruptures occur after long-term exposure to high humidity, NHTSA has said. The OEM noted that 12 recall notices were sent since 2009 to the Accord's registered owners.

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"Our records indicate that the recall fix was never completed on this vehicle", the OEM wrote. Honda says "Twelve mailed recall notices were sent over the course of almost seven years to registered owners of this vehicle prior to the June 2016 incident". Takata inflators can explode with too much force when exposed to prolonged airborne moisture and hot-and-cold temperature cycles. Those models are the 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.

About 46 million Takata air bags in 29 million cars have already been called back, with another 20 million to 25 million additional air bags set to be recalled with the next couple of years.

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.

Separately, a federal judge in Detroit on Monday said he planned to name law professor Eric D Green to oversee $975 million in compensation funds for Takata air bag victims and automakers.

He disclosed that Takata has recalled, or expects to recall, by 2019 about 125 million vehicles worldwide, including more than 60 million in the US.

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