July 27, 2017: American Honda has confirmed that a Takata air bag inflator ruptured in a fatal crash involving a 2002 Accord on July 19 in Florida. There has been no official cause of death announced yet.
If it is confirmed that the driver died from the exploding inflator, then this would be the 13th U.S. fatality and 19th worldwide attributed to a rupture. Twelve of the U.S. deaths involve Honda vehicles.
"This latest tragedy is a critical reminder of the serious nature of this Takata air bag recall and serves as an important call to action," NHTSA said in a statement to the media. "NHTSA urges the public to visit NHTSA.gov to check for any outstanding safety recalls -- especially if you’re not the original owner. If there is an open recall, you are highly encouraged to contact your nearest dealer to schedule a free repair."
The 2002 Accord is on the list of 2001-2003 Honda vehicles that pose significant risk because they are equipped with the so-called “Alpha” inflators.
This is the second death announced in July involving a Honda with an "Alpha" inflator. On July 10, Honda confirmed that a man died in June 2016 when a driver side air bag inflator ruptured while he was attempting to make repairs on a 2001 Honda Accord.
Honda continues to emphasize the risk surrounding the “Alpha” inflators and is urging owners to immediately check for open recalls and, If replacement is required, to contact a dealer to schedule the free repair. Any concerned customer can also contact Honda’s Automobile Customer Service at 888-234-2138.