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Inspection finds Takata airbag caused 20th death

Some Kentucky drivers may have heard about or even received recall notices for faulty Takata airbags. On Dec. 19, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Honda announced that a faulty Takata airbag was responsible for the July 10 death of a driver in a 2004 Honda Civic. The airbag had actually been salvaged from a 2002 Civic.

Takata airbags have been known to injure or kill people when they burst open and spray shrapnel. This accident marks the 20th death worldwide that has been attributed to the product. According to Honda, the owners had not replaced the airbags despite several recall notices.

Honda was Takata's largest customer, and it has used both Facebook and door-to-door visits to try to inform people and get them to replace the faulty parts. The recall, which has been underway for 15 years, affects more than 40 million vehicles and several different brands. The goal for Dec. 31 is 100 percent replacement, but a report showed that only around half that many replacements have occurred. About two-thirds of Hondas affected have been fixed. For other manufacturers, the rate ranges from 50 percent to as low as 2 percent. The NHTSA has been coordinating the recall for the past two years.

When a person is injured because of a defective product, the manufacturer may be held legally responsible. This could mean that the manufacturer is responsible for costs such as medical expenses. However, other factors may be involved. For example, legal counsel might investigate whether a product was adequately tested and if the manufacturer was aware of the dangers.

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