Takata airbag fault claims eighth victim in the US

A crash-test dummy sits in a testing sled at Takata's current crash-testing facility in Michigan (2010) Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A crash-test dummy sits in a testing sled at Takata's current crash-testing facility in Michigan (2010)

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has linked an eighth US death to a faulty airbag inflator made by Japan's Takata.

The NHTSA said a teenager was killed in July after an airbag in a 2001 Honda Accord ruptured.

A total of 19 million cars, containing 23 million airbag inflators, made by 12 car companies have been recalled.

In November, Takata agreed to pay a $70m fine for safety violations and may face deferred penalties of up to $130m.

The airbag fault has claimed nine lives globally.

The airbag inflators explode with too much force and spray metal shrapnel into the car. All nine deaths, eight in the US and one in Malaysia, have all been in Honda cars. More than 100 people have been injured.

Honda said that the car involved in the crash had been included in a February 2010 national safety recall campaign and claimed that it had made "numerous attempts" to contact the previous owner of the vehicle.

It said it sent a new recall notice to the current owner of the car on 21 July this year, one day before the crash.

A spokesman for the NHTSA said that Honda, as well as Subaru and Mazda, have added a "few hundred thousand" more cars to the recall in the US, adding that other car companies may follow suit.

The NHTSA said about a quarter of affected cars have been fixed, the majority of which are in areas of high humidity which can react adversely to ammonium nitrate, a chemical compound which is used to deploy the airbags.

In a statement, Takata said: "Our heartfelt condolences go out to the driver's family.

"We are working in close collaboration with Honda and NHTSA to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding this tragic situation. Takata's number one priority is the safety of the driving public."

Shares in Takata closed down nearly 5%.

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