DETROIT (AP) - Federal safety regulators are looking into the death of a Texas man who may be the latest victim of exploding automobile air bags made by Takata Corp. of Japan.
DETROIT (AP) — Federal safety regulators are looking into the death of a Texas man who may be the latest victim of exploding automobile air bags made by Takata Corp. of Japan.
The man died earlier this month is a low-speed crash in the Houston area when the air bag inflated and sent shrapnel into his neck, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said Thursday on the Senate floor. The man was dead by the time police arrived at the crash site, said Nelson, a member of a committee that's investigating the air bag deaths.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was gathering information on the crash, which involved a 2002 Honda Accord and occurred Jan. 18 in the Houston area. Honda said in a statement that the car was part of a 2011 national recall to fix the driver's air bag inflators, but records show the repairs had not been made. The company urged anyone with a vehicle recalled for air bag problems to take cars to dealers as soon as possible.
If authorities determine that the air bag caused the man's death, he would be the sixth person killed by the faulty air bag inflators. Four of the victims were in the United States, while another was in Malaysia.
Air bag inflators made by Takata can explode with too much force, blowing apart a metal canister and sending fragments into the passenger compartment. Nelson said 64 people have been injured by the faulty inflators in the U.S. and its territories. The government and Takata say prolonged exposure to high humidity can make the air bag inflator propellant burn too fast, causing it to blow apart the canisters.
In a statement, Takata offered condolences to the man's family and said the company is working with Honda "to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the vehicle's status at the time of the incident."
A Honda spokesman said in an email that the Texas man, who was not identified by Nelson or the company, bought the Accord on April 25, 2014. Honda mailed recall notification letters to the previous owner starting in 2011, but it had not yet sent a letter to the current owner, spokesman Chris Martin said.