TORRANCE, Californias — Honda on Friday said an eighth death has been linked to defective Takata airbags and for the second time in a week issued a plea to owners of Honda and Acura vehicles affected by the recall to get their vehicles repaired at authorized dealers as soon as possible.
"American Honda has confirmed that the Takata driver's airbag inflator ruptured in the crash of a 2001 Honda Civic on September 7, 2014 in Los Angeles, California," said Honda in a statement provided to Edmunds. "The airbag inflator rupture that occurred during this crash resulted in the death of the driver, Ms. Jewel Brangman."
Honda said the vehicle was rented to Brangman in August 2014 by the current registered owner, a rental car agency in San Diego.
The Civic was part of a 2009 recall for the defective Takata driver's front airbag inflator. It was also included in an April 2013 recall affecting Takata passenger front airbag inflators, along with two safety improvement campaigns in June 2014 related to both the front driver and passenger airbag inflators.
"Four mailed notifications of the July 2009 recall were sent to registered owners of this vehicle starting in August 2009," Honda said.
The automaker said its records show that no recall repair was ever completed.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told Edmunds it conducted a vehicle inspection on the Civic on Friday, along with reviewing police and medical examiner reports on the crash.
NHTSA confirmed that a ruptured Takata airbag inflator is likely to have been involved in the crash.
"This latest confirmed case underscores the necessity of NHTSA's actions to ensure that every American vehicle has safe airbags," said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind in a statement. "The fact that this was a rental vehicle that had not been remedied is more evidence for why we are seeking authority to prohibit sale or rental of any vehicle with an open safety recall."
Honda has recalled 6.3 million vehicles with defective Takata airbags in the U.S. The Takata recall includes nearly 34 million vehicles from 11 automakers in the U.S.
The defective airbags can explode in a crash, shooting deadly metal shrapnel at vehicle occupants.
Of the eight deaths in Honda vehicles, seven were in the U.S. and one was in Malaysia.
The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on the Takata recall at 10 a.m. EDT on June 23. The witnesses will include Rosekind and Calvin L. Scovel III, the U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General.
Kevin Kennedy, executive vice president of Takata's North American operations, is also scheduled to testify, along with M. Scott Kunselman, senior vice president of FCA US, and Rick Schostek, executive vice president of Honda North America.
Consumers who are concerned about whether their vehicle is affected by the recall should check their Vehicle Identification Number or VIN by using NHTSA's VIN search tool.
Owners should then call their local dealer as soon as possible to make an appointment for a free repair.
Edmunds says: Another devastating reminder of how important it is to get these recalled vehicles in to the dealership as quickly as possible.