Japanese car manufacturer Honda confirmed on Monday that a woman in Louisiana had died as a result of her airbag exploding. The woman died two months ago when a defective inflator on her 2005 Honda Civic caused the explosion and showered her with shrapnel.
Honda’s US division said it had reported its findings to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Friday. This latest death is the seventh confirmed one that has been caused by a Takata airbag exploding. A significant number of drivers and passengers have also been injured by flying shrapnel after collisions.
The faulty airbag inflator has led to the recall of millions of cars worldwide. Takata is based in Japan and its airbags are fitted to Nissan’s and other Japanese manufacturers’ vehicles as well as Honda’s. BMW, Ford and General Motors also use Takata airbags in some of their models.
Auto industry analysts say Honda’s cars have been the worst affected by the airbag problem. The company is in the process of installing a new president to help deal with the mushrooming crisis.
US lawmakers grilled Takata’s senior US directors earlier in June as to why the issue still remained unresolved. Vice-president Kevin Kennedy said engineers had not ascertained what the main fault was. He noted that one issue may lie with the ammonium nitrate propellant which in some cases had become unstable.
US senators have already asked why Takata is still making airbags which use a chemical they know is defective. They say tests seem to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the chemical has caused scores of airbags to overinflate and explode.