As the month of May was coming to a close word began to spread about the largest-ever recall in U.S. history due to a defective auto part. We wrote about it pondering what the odds might be of someone in Texas falling victim to the problem.
The devices in question are Takata air bags that are supposed to keep drivers and passengers safer in the event of a motor vehicle crash. The problem is that there’s a chance that some inflators in some of the bags could be corrupted, making them open with too much force and sending shrapnel from a metal canister into the passenger compartment. Adding to the concern is that officials don’t know exactly which bags might be bad.
In the weeks since regulators announced that some 34 million vehicles would be subject to recall more bad news has surfaced. Honda Motors announced the death of a seventh person as a result of a Takata air bag. She was 22 years old and died four days after crashing her 2005 Honda Civic. A metal fragment of the air bag canister cut open a carotid artery.
Honda says the woman’s car was part of a “safety improvement campaign” it launched in June last year. But the woman had bought the car used last October, and first notice of the safety action wasn’t sent until this past April. That was three days before the crash.
Her family recently filed a wrongful death suit in the matter. Honda and Takata are defendants. In addition to the seven deaths, hundreds of people have been injured in accidents involving exploding canisters.
Also this week, Reuters reported that Toyota Motor Corp. announced it will recall some 1.4 million additional vehicles in the U.S. over passenger-side air bags. These same vehicles were recalled earlier because of driver-side bags.
It would seem that, now more than ever, the question worth asking is what are the odds that someone is driving an affected vehicle?