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Date [ 2018-02-09, 18:52 ]

An accident that took the life of the driver of a Honda City in Selangor on Jan 1 this year, is believed to be the sixth fatality in Malaysia due to the faulty Takata airbags installed in some older Honda vehicles.

An official statement from Honda Malaysia today confirmed that the Takata single stage (SDI) driver’s airbag inflator ruptured in a crash on Jan 1, 2018 in Selangor.

Though no official cause of death has been determined, Honda said that an inspection with the police showed the inflator ruptured in the crash of a 2004 Honda City.

Honda said the vehicle involved in this crash was included in a Malaysian product recall announced on May 21, 2015, requiring the airbag be replaced.

“Several notification letters related to the recall were sent out to the then owners of the vehicle based on the information in our database, yet the letters were not sent to the current owner due to the change of ownership.

“Our records indicate that the recall replacement was never completed,” Honda said.

Malaysia is the only country outside the United States where fatalities have occurred as a direct result of the faulty Takata airbags.

It was previously reported that 16 people died due to the faulty Takata airbags – 11 in the US and five in Malaysia. There have also been more than 180 injuries recorded in the US.

Though there were no cases reported in Malaysia last year, 2016 proved to be an especially tragic year with four deaths occuring due to the ruptured airbag inflator in a Honda vehicle.

In the first case on April 16, 2016, Dr Nida Fatin Mat Asis, who was 29 at the time, died after a minor car crash in Sabah.

The second incident in 2016 took place on May 1, in Kedah. This was followed on June 26, when a mother of two died after a fender bender involving her Honda City and another vehicle, in Kota Damansara, Selangor.

The fourth fatality occurred in an accident on Sept 24, 2016 in Johor.

Prior to these four fatalities, the first known case in Malaysia took place on July 27, 2014, when a pregnant woman was killed in Sibu, Sarawak. Her father later sued both Honda and Takata in the US, as part of a larger class action suit.

The husband of the doctor in the April 2016 case had also filed a suit against Honda Motor Co Ltd and Takata Corp in Detroit last March over the wrongful death of his wife.

The circumstances in all the cases were similar, in that the accidents were minor but when the airbags were activated, flying shrapnel from the exploding Takata airbag inflators resulted in the death of the driver.

As of March last year, Takata had recalled nearly 70 milion of its inflators from car manufacturers and auto suppliers in the US.
In the US alone, about 42 million cars were recalled encompassing 34 vehicle brands, most of which were Honda, in what was one of the largest auto recall exercises ever. ■
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