About the West Side Accident
Dianna Polanco, age 20, died at the University Hospital following the 5 p.m. crash on the 900 block of Loop 1604 West.
According to a San Antonio Police Department report, Dianna was a passenger in her sister’s white Nissan, which slowed to a speed of 5 mph when entering the access road of the Loop. Witnesses have stated that they saw the vehicle’s occupants looking for a business on the opposite side of the road and several vehicles had to swerve to avoid hitting her car as they entered the 55 mph speed zone.
Dianna suffered a serious head injury at the scene and died a few hours after arriving at University Hospital.
Alcohol and drug use do not appear to have been factors in the collision.
Texas Auto Accident Statistics
- In 2013, the Texas Department of Transportation recorded 3,377 traffic related deaths.
- 1,883 deaths were attributed to accidents that occur in rural areas.
- 767 people were killed in collisions that occurred at or were related to intersections.
- 523 people were killed in head-on collisions.
- Another 232,041 people were injured in traffic collisions in Texas in 2013.
- 89,270 people sustained serious injuries.
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Toyota Motor Corp has issued a nationwide recall for 247,000 cars, pickups, and SUV equipped with Takata airbags due to concerns that the airbags can rupture upon deployment, sending metal shards into vehicle occupants.
About the Toyota Recall
According to Reuters, the recall was announced early Monday, prompted by an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Toyota is attempting to determine what is causing the defect to occur.
Current speculation is that exposure to the high humidity could be a contributing factor to the airbag ruptures. Takata has examined several replaced airbag inflators gather from South Florida by Toyota and informed Toyota that a number of the inflators performed “improperly” during testing.
So far, four deaths have been linked to the defective airbags; however, none of the deaths are associated with Toyota vehicles. Toyota also claims that it is unaware of any crashes or injuries being linked to the defect.
BMW, Ford Motor, Mazda Motor, Mitsubishi Motors, Nisan Motor, and Subaru have all enacted recalls related to the Takata vehicles with more than 16 million vehicles being recalled since 2008.
Models Affected by the Toyota Airbag Recall
- Models being recalled include:
- Lexus SC
- Toyota Corolla
- Toyota Corolla Matrix
- Toyota Sequoia
- Toyota Tundra
- Pontiac Vide (built by Toyota)
- Recall affects model years 2002 through 2005.
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Driver's Death Originally Investigated as Homicide
According to Bloomberg, the death of Hien Thi Tran was originally investigated as a homicide with investigators noting the deep cuts to her neck were not consistent with injuries normally sustained in a car crash.
Authorities are now looking at the possibility that Tran’s death was caused by a defect known to affect some airbags manufactured Takata Inc. If evidence supports the authorities’ suspicion, Tran would become the fourth person believed to be killed by the defective airbags.
Tran was driving a Honda Accord at the time of the collision. Honda has been linked to two similar situations in which it is believed that shrapnel from the faulty airbags was responsible for the motorists’ deaths, rather than the collision itself.
Honda is currently a third death involving a driver who crashed an Acura sedan in a California parking lot in 2012.
About the Takata Airbag Defect
Reports suggest that the defective airbags may deploy with excess force during collision, forcing heated metal shards to be ejected throughout the vehicles. These metal shards, some reaching two inches in length, can kill or injure vehicle occupants.
The issue has caught the eye of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the agency has launched an industry-wide investigation into the defect.
More than 16 million vehicles equipped with the defective airbags have been recalled since 2008.
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