Fifth Death in Honda Vehicle Related to Takata Air Bags

Nov 13, 2014 03:19 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

A fifth death in a Honda vehicle has been connected with Takata's faulty air bags.

The first such fatality reported outside the U.S., the incident involved a driver in Malaysia who died in July after being struck with shrapnel from an exploding air bag in a 2003 Honda City, Reuters reported.

Honda said today that the recall for vehicles equipped with Takata air bags would be expanded by an additional 170,000 cars worldwide. Since 2008, the automaker has recalled almost 10 million vehicles globally for the issue, which reportedly stems from materials that were exposed to moisture.

The air bags, which can burst in the event of a crash to spray shrapnel at the vehicle's occupants, were previously related to four traffic deaths in the U.S.  

According to the latest report, an air bag inflator exploded and struck the female driver of the vehicle with shrapnel. Honda has not disclosed the driver's name and age.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been investigating Honda and recently issued a special order to the automaker to turn over documentation regarding the Takata air bags. The Japanese supplier received a similar order, and both Takata and Honda are under deadline to answer questions from the agency.

Honda has until Dec. 15 to comply with the 15-page special order, which also involves producing all internal communications about the seven recall campaigns connected with Takata air bags.

Upgrading a "safety campaign," Honda added nine models to the list of recalls for faulty air bags last week.

The latest announcement affects certain 2003-'05 Honda Accord, 2001-'05 Honda Civic, 2002-'05 Honda CR-V, 2003-'04 Honda Element, 2002-'04 Honda Odyssey, 2003-'05 Honda Pilot, 2006 Honda Ridgeline, 2003-'05 Acura MDX and 2005 Acura RL vehicles.

Ten automakers who produced models with Takata air bags have recalled more than 17 million vehicles altogether in global campaigns.  

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