Japanese auto parts company Takata (TKTDF) is recalling an additional 2.7 million airbag inflators in the USA, after the company determined they could explode in the event of a crash despite the use of a chemical additive to make sure of their safety. A medical examiner ruled his death accidental due to head trauma, according to a Hialeah police report.
NHTSA estimates that Honda has fixed almost 60 percent of all the recalled airbags within its own and Acura vehicles - but that still leaves millions of inflators needing a fix.
The vehicle company said it was recently made aware of the death, which happened in Hialeah, Florida.
A company spokesman said the man had taken apart the car's center console, although it's not exactly clear what he was working on. The owner had received 12 recall notices.
The auto company said the vehicle's ignition switch was on, so the air bag would have been ready. 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. When it did deploy, the faulty propellant ruptured the inflator and, according to The Associated Press, "shot out fragments".
"Our records indicate that the recall fix was never completed on this vehicle", Honda's statement said. The problem touched off the largest automotive recall in US history, involving 42 million vehicles and 69 million air bag inflators.
In January, Takata pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges related to its handling of the air bag defects and agreed to pay a US$1 billion (S$1.39 billion) fine.
Recently bankrupt auto parts maker Takata is once against adding to its roster of potentially unsafe airbags, this time recalling 2.7 million airbag inflators that could explode violently despite containing a chemical meant to lessen the risk of the shrapnel-shooting ruptures. 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.
The disclosure of the latest death came as a federal judge appointed a law professor, Eric Green, to supervise distribution of the fine imposed on Takata after its guilty plea.
Facing billions of dollars in losses and court settlements, Takata declared bankruptcy last month.
"On average, more than 500 recalled Honda and Acura vehicles are receiving estimates and triggering notifications through this system every day", Honda wrote.