After a joint investigation with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Honda confirmed that it was to blame for the death of a driver in a June 2018 crash in Arizona. This is the sixteenth death in the United States arising from faulty Takata airbag inflators. The potentially lethal defect occurs when Takata air bag inflators on the driver’s side rupture during a crash, sending metal fragments careening towards the driver.
The fourteen deaths in Honda vehicles and two in Ford Motor Company vehicles has sparked the largest recall effort in U.S. history. Honda is recalling 56 million Takata inflators in 41.6 million vehicles in the United States alone. Earlier in March, Honda stated that it would recall another 1.2 million Honda and Acura vehicles in North America to replace the Takata airbag inflators. Worldwide, the Takata inflators have been linked to more than 290 injuries and over 100 million still ongoing recalls made by nineteen car companies.
In a statement Honda explained that it was unable to issue recall notifications to the latest victim of the Takata airbag inflators because the driver had purchased the car less than three months prior to the accident and there is no requirement that Honda be notified of a change in ownership.
The United States Department of Justice has fined Takata over $1 billion in criminal penalties, following the revelation that the company had been withholding vital information about the safety of its airbag inflators for over a decade. Takata also plead guilty to a felony charge of wire fraud, committed in an attempt to resolve a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the company’s knowledge of its potentially defective airbag inflators. Takata was one of the world’s foremost providers of automobile safety equipment worldwide prior to filing for bankruptcy in 2017.