— A Honda Civic crash in Mesa, Arizona, killed the driver after the Takata airbag inflator exploded, making this at least the 15th U.S. death caused by Takata inflators in Honda vehicles.
In addition, more than 200 injuries in the U.S. have occurred in Honda vehicles from exploding Takata airbag inflators. These numbers don't reflect the Honda vehicle occupants who were killed outside the U.S.
According to Honda, an investigation into the August 20, 2020, Arizona crash of the 2002 Honda Civic was conducted with investigators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The investigation confirmed the unnamed Civic driver sustained injuries due to the ruptured Takata airbag, and later died due to those injuries.
"Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the family of the driver." - Honda statement
In addition to the driver, Honda and NHTSA confirmed the Takata passenger airbag inflator in the Civic also exploded, causing a small fire in the dashboard. However, there wasn't a passenger in the seat and the ruptured passenger airbag inflator caused no injuries.
The 2002 Honda Civic had been under recall since December 2011 to replace the driver-side frontal Takata airbag inflator, and the passenger airbag inflator had been recalled in 2014.
According to Honda:
"Starting in January 2012, more than 15 mailed recall notices were sent over the course of eight years to registered owners of this vehicle before the August 2020 crash. In addition, Honda made numerous phone calls in an attempt to reach owners of this vehicle and physically visited the address of the current owner, leaving recall information attached to the home’s front door. Our records indicate that the recall repair was never completed."
The Honda Civic driver who was killed wasn't the registered owner of the vehicle and Honda does not know if the driver was aware of the unrepaired Takata airbag recalls.
Honda has been affected by defective Takata airbag inflators more than any automaker, taking extraordinary steps to get the dangerous airbag inflators away from the public and their vehicles.
The automaker continues to push customers toward dealers to have free recall repairs performed, even going door-to-door hundreds of thousands of times trying to track down customers.
Owners of 2001-2003 model year vehicles are especially at risk, but all Honda vehicle owners should ensure their vehicles don't have the dangerous Takata airbag inflators installed.