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Texas Teen Killed by Defective Takata Airbag

Takata’s defective airbags have claimed another life. A Texas teen was killed when her airbag deployed after a crash, sending shrapnel into her neck.

Ten deaths are now linked to the defective product, which has also caused more than 100 injuries. As we have discussed extensively on this San Diego Injury Blog, the airbag’s propellant can explode with too much force, causing the airbag to rupture and sending dangerous shrapnel into the vehicle.

The teen involved in the latest fatal crash was driving a 2002 Honda Civic when the car rear-ended another vehicle and the air bags deployed. According to Sheriff's Deputy Danny Beckworth, who investigated the crash, the teen would not have been seriously injured if not for the faulty airbag. "Everybody would have walked away," he said.

According to the girl’s family, they were not aware that their Honda Civic was subject to the Takata recall. They purchased the vehicle used, and did not receive a recall notice from Honda. The Civic was first recalled in 2011 and has been the subject of six recall notices in total. Nonetheless, the necessary repairs were never made.

To date, 14 automakers have recalled 24 million vehicles in the United States. Less than one-third of the faulty inflators have been fixed, in large part due to a lack of replacement parts. In other cases, owners are still not aware that their vehicles have a deadly defect.

To boost completion rates, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is calling on auto makers to be more proactive. "Automakers need to get creative and more aggressive about how they're reaching these vehicle owners," the agency recently stated.

As a reminder, vehicle owners can visit www.safercar.gov and enter their vehicle identification number (VIN) to see if their cars are subject to any unrepaired recalls.

If your child or someone you care about has suffered serious harm due to a defective airbag or other auto part, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information, please contact a San Diego product liability attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.