Statement from American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Re: Confirmed Rupture of Defective Takata Airbag Inflator in Mesa, AZ Statement Date: Oct. 3, 2020

On Sept. 30, 2020, following a joint inspection, American Honda and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed that a defective Takata driver’s airbag inflator ruptured in the crash of a 2002 Honda Civic on Aug. 20, 2020, in Mesa, AZ.  The driver of the vehicle sustained injuries from the ruptured inflator and subsequently died. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the family of the driver.

Honda has now confirmed 15 deaths and more than 200 injuries in the U.S. related to Takata airbag driver’s front inflator ruptures in the field. In addition, another automaker has experienced two fatalities in the U.S. due to the rupture of Takata airbag inflators – meaning the industry as a whole has experienced 17 fatalities in the U.S.

The joint inspection also confirmed that a defective Takata passenger’s airbag inflator ruptured during the crash. Passenger airbag inflators are mounted inside the dashboard, and this rupture ignited a small fire in that area. No passenger was seated in the front seat during the crash, and no injuries have been attributed to the passenger’s airbag inflator rupture.

Honda has shared all available information with NHTSA and will continue to cooperate with the agency throughout the investigation of this inflator rupture.

The vehicle involved in this crash had been under recall since December 2011 for replacement of the original Takata driver’s frontal airbag inflator. The original Takata passenger’s frontal airbag inflator was also included in a June 2014 safety improvement campaign that transitioned into a recall in November 2014. Starting in January 2012, more than 15 mailed recall notices were sent over the course of eight years to registered owners of this vehicle before the August 2020 crash. In addition, Honda made numerous phone calls in an attempt to reach owners of this vehicle and physically visited the address of the current owner, leaving recall information attached to the home’s front door. Our records indicate that the recall repair was never completed.

The driver killed in this crash was not the registered owner of the vehicle, and Honda does not know if the driver was aware of the unrepaired recalls affecting this vehicle.

Honda currently has sufficient supplies of replacement inflators to complete the free repairs for all recalled Honda and Acura models in the United States, and we urge all owners of affected vehicles to seek repair as soon as possible.

[Note to the Media: Please include the following as you report this story – Thank You!]

American Honda continues to urge owners of Honda and Acura vehicles affected by the Takata airbag inflator recalls to get their vehicles repaired at authorized dealers as soon as possible. Older vehicles, especially 2001-2003 model year vehicles, have a heightened risk of an airbag inflator rupture and pose the greatest safety risk. Vehicle owners can check their vehicles’ recall status at www.recalls.honda.com for Honda owners or www.recalls.acura.com for Acura owners or by calling their authorized dealer.

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