Honda confirms 17th U.S. death in Takata airbag rupture


WASHINGTON — Honda Motor Co. said on Saturday it has confirmed a 17th U.S. death tied to a faulty airbag inflator made by now-defunct Japanese safety products supplier Takata Corp.

Honda said that after a joint inspection with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it confirmed a faulty airbag inflator was to blame for the Aug. 20 crash of a 2002 Honda Civic that led to the death of a driver in Mesa, Ariz.

The defect, which can lead to airbag inflators rupturing and sending metal fragments flying, prompted the largest automotive recall in U.S. history and is tied to 15 U.S. deaths in Honda vehicles and two in Ford Motor Co. vehicles since 2009. More than 290 injuries are also tied to faulty Takata inflators and at least 26 deaths worldwide.

Honda said the 2002 Civic had been under recall since December 2011 for replacement of the driver’s frontal airbag inflator, while the passenger’s frontal airbag inflator was recalled in 2014.