Delia Robles, 50, crashed her Honda Civic into a Chevrolet pickup in Riverside County, California, on September 30. She received treatment at a local hospital but did not survive the injuries sustained from the crash.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says the woman drove a recalled car that never received repairs. According to Reuters, more than 20 notices were sent to Robles in regards to the recall on her vehicle. The notices were sent over an eight-year period. CBS News reports that Robles’ son claims he didn’t remember seeing notices about the recalled Honda.
Robles’ death is the first Takata airbag-linked fatality since a 17-year-old died in March following an average speed automobile wreck. Reuters reports that approximately 11.4 million airbags have been repaired, but more than 20 million remain unrepaired. Robles is the eleventh recorded fatality in the United States due to the faulty Takata airbags.
The car that Robles drove was classified in June as high risk – the NHTSA urged drivers to stop driving these recalled vehicles until repairs were completed.
According to the NHTSA, new tests have shown that the recalled Takata airbags have as high as a 50 percent chance of exploding in a collision. In addition, older inflators exposed to high heat and humidity are more likely to malfunction.
According to the NHTSA, the airbag inflator found inside the Takata airbags can rupture and explode, sending metal shrapnel through the airbag toward vehicle occupants.
Extended exposure to heat and humidity can cause the airbags to fail. By December 31, 2019, the NHTSA says an estimated 35-40 million inflators will be added to the recall on top of the 28.8 million already recalled.
Drivers are urged to check for recalls several times a year to make sure vehicles haven’t been added to the Takata airbag recall.