8th death U.S. due to Takata air bag explosion identified

posted on December 24, 2015

A teen driver who died a few days after a July car crash near Pittsburgh has been tentatively identified by the government as the eighth death in the U.S. due to an explosive air bag inflator made by auto parts maker Takata, federal transportation officials said Wednesday.

he National Highway Traffic Safety Administration officials also announced an expansion in the recall of vehicles with Takata airbags, already the largest and most complex recall in the agency's history. The latest findings could result in the recall of several hundred thousand additional vehicles, officials said.

The appointment of an independent monitor to oversee the company's compliance with a government consent order on the recalls was also announced.

NHTSA learned of the latest death last week after a lawyer for the teen's family contacted the agency, NHTSA spokesman Gordon Trowbridge told reporters in a conference call. The car involved was a used 2001 Honda Accord under recall that was owned by a relative of the teen, he said. He didn't identify the victim or provide other details of crash.

"The agency has now tentatively concluded that this was likely a rupture-related fatality," Trowbridge said. The agency is now working the family, Takata and Honda to examine the vehicle in order to confirm that conclusion, he said.

A woman in Malaysia was also killed by a rupturing Takata air bag last year, the only known fatality outside the U.S., bringing the global number of deaths to nine. More than 100 other people have been injured by the Takata inflators, which can explode with too much force, sending shrapnel into drivers and passengers.

In the U.S., about 23 million Takata air bag inflators have been recalled on 19 million vehicles sold by 12 auto and truck makers. Recent crash testing of vehicles already among those recalled resulted in five passenger side air bag inflator ruptures, Trowbridge said.

source by japantoday
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