Honda says new Takata air bag death reported in TX

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 1:36 AM

S. regulators said on Wednesday, the tenth U. S. death linked to a defect that's prompted recalls of tens of millions of vehicles worldwide.

A 17-year-old driver of a recalled two thousand two Honda Civic was killed latest mo after a Takata Corp () air bag ruptured during a rear-end crash, Honda Motor Co () and U. S. regulators said on Wednesday, the tenth U. S. death linked to a defect that's prompted recalls of tens of millions of vehicles worldwide.

The latest death took space on March thirty-one in Fort Bend County, Texas. Honda said the owner had been mailed multiple recall notices about the five-year-old recall effort, but repairs were never made.

The victim, a high school senior from Richmond, Texas, ran into the back of a Honda CR-V that was waiting for traffic to clear to create a left turn, said Fort Bend County Sheriff'south Deputy Danny Beckwith. The driver wasn't excessively speeding and was wearing her seat belt, he said, saying the crash resulted in moderate damage to her car.

"Everybody should've walked far from this," Beckwith said in an interview. He said shrapnel punctured the air bag and sliced the youthful woman'south neck and carotid artery. She was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Honda spokesman Jeffrey Smith said the automaker has more than doubled the size of its customer relations team working on this issue.

"This is a very motivated, committed and engaged group, working seven days a week to assistance customers obtain their vehicles repaired," Smith said.

He said Honda has sent more than 9.9 million mailers, 11.9 million postcards, 4.5 million emails, 12.8 million direct and automated phone calls and used targeted advertising, social media and other efforts.

Overall, ten people have died in the United States in accidents linked to exploding Takata air bags. Nine of those U. S. deaths have occurred in Honda vehicles, Honda said. Ford Motor Co () has reported a death from a Takata air bag rupture in one of its vehicles in the United States.

A pregnant woman was killed in Malaysia in July two thousand fourteen after the rupture of a Takata air bag in a two thousand three Honda City.

Senator Bill Nelson, a FL Democrat, said in a statement the latest death "shows that the current recall efforts are just not getting the work done. Takata and the automakers have to step up their efforts to locate, notify and fix every impacted car as soon as possible - before anyone else dies."

The National Hwy Traffic Safety Administration said in a statement it "has demanded that manufacturers work to a one hundred % completion rate, and get all efforts required to reach that goal."

The agency said it "is renewing its call to all auto manufacturers involved in the Takata air bag recall to intensify and widen their outreach to affected vehicle owners."

To date, fourteen automakers have recalled about twenty-four million vehicles involving about twenty-eight million Takata air bag inflators, , which can burst up with excessive force and spray metal shrapnel into vehicle passenger compartments. They've been linked to more than one hundred U. S. injuries.

In late December, NHTSA named John Buretta, a former official in the Justice Department'south criminal division, to serve as independent monitor overseeing the Takata recalls.

Latest month, NHTSA said automakers have replaced more than 7.5 million faulty Takata inflators, or about a third of those recalled through December. Honda has replaced about 5.4 million inflators, or fifty-four % of vehicles it'd recalled through December, the highest completion rate of any automaker.

Honda said it's sufficient replacement inflators to complete repairs below the open recall of the two thousand two Civic, "and we continue to encourage all owners of affected vehicles to seek repair immediately."

Honda said it doesn't have replacements for a driver air bag inflator recall announced in February, but it expects to start receiving replacement inflators for that recall within a few days.

(Reporting by David Shepardson, editing by G Crosse and David Gregorio)

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