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20th Death Linked to Defective Takata Airbags

Damaged car with passenger door open and view of deployed airbags

A report released Wednesday revealed that the traffic death of a 60-year-old man in Baton Rouge was caused by an exploding Takata airbag inside the man’s 2004 Honda Civic. This marks the 20th death to be linked to the defective airbags worldwide and the second to occur in Louisiana.

Details of the Fatal Takata Airbag Explosion

According to WAFB, George Robertson Sharp, Jr., 60, was fatally injured in July when he was involved in a crash along Jefferson Highway near Drusilla.

Officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) completed a joint inspection of the vehicle with Honda on Tuesday. The inspection confirmed that Sharp’s air bag inflator had blown apart sending metal shrapnel throughout the cabin. The airbag explosion was deemed the cause of Sharp’s death.

The investigators noted that the 2004 Civic was equipped with an airbag unit that had been salvaged from a 2002 Civic

The Larger Issue of the Takata Airbag Recalls

As deaths continue to be linked to the defective Takata airbags, with fatal collisions occurring even after recalls were issued and, in some instances, re-issued, the larger issue remains that the faulty airbag inflators are not being repaired.

Currently, recalls have been issued for more than 42 million vehicles across several brands in the U.S. alone. Despite initial recalls being issued more than four years ago, the fact remains that, to date, only 65 percent of affected Hondas have been repaired while repair rates for other automakers fall between 2 percent and 50 percent.

Inflators from 2002 Civics are considered to be among the most dangers with tests showing that inflators from 2001-2003 Civics have shown that they 50 percent chance to explode in the event  of a collision.

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