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Another Death Linked to Defective Car Airbags

  • VOA News

FILE - Parts department worker Frank Jorge stands next to boxes containing recalled Takata air bag inflators that were removed at the AutoNation Honda dealership in Miami, Florida, June 25, 2015. A teenager in the United States has become the 11th person worldwide to die because of a defective automobile airbag.

FILE - Parts department worker Frank Jorge stands next to boxes containing recalled Takata air bag inflators that were removed at the AutoNation Honda dealership in Miami, Florida, June 25, 2015. A teenager in the United States has become the 11th person worldwide to die because of a defective automobile airbag.

A 17-year-old girl in the United States has become the 11th person worldwide to die because of a defective automobile airbag.

Authorities in Texas say the teenager was driving a 2002 Honda Civic in late March when she rear-ended another car, activating the airbag packed in the steering wheel. Pieces of metal pierced the young woman's neck and severed an artery.

A sheriff's deputy said the crash should not have led to any serious injuries.

Defective airbags, manufactured by Japanese-based Takata Corporation, have led to a massive recall of cars worldwide, including 24 million made by 14 automakers in the United States alone.

Ten of the 11 fatalities occurred in the U.S., with the other taking place in Malaysia. More than 100 other people have been injured. Scientists say the chemical that powers the airbag deteriorates with prolonged exposure to high humidity.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 7.5 million airbags, about a third of those recalled, have been repaired as of last month. The repairs have been slowed by a lack of replacement parts and a slow response by car owners, despite multiple notices.

NHTSA has imposed a record $200 million fine against Takata for failing to warn the public and government about the exploding bags.

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