Honda: Ft. Bend County driver becomes 10th US death from Takata air bags – KTRK-TV

Posted: Thursday, April 07, 2016

A Fort Bend County high school senior is the latest person killed from injuries caused by an exploding Takata airbag.

Huma Hanif, 17, died March 31 after what eyewitnesses describe as only a minor accident. It happened on FM 762 and Gonyo near Richmond. The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office says she rear-ended another car. Rudy Torres, the owner of Invisions, a barber shop on the corner, says Hanif got out of her car afterwards and collapsed.

“It was a minor accident, fender-bender. She should have walked away from the accident. She should have walked away from it,” Torres explained. “She had a deep laceration on the side of her throat. It looked like debris from the airbag.”

Torres was right. After an official inspection Wednesday of the teen’s 2002 civic, Honda confirms a defective Takata airbag is to blame. The inflator ruptured becoming like a missile.

Honda says it was among the 24 million airbags that have been recalled in U.S. Their records show recall notices have been sent to the registered owner of Hanif’s car, but repairs were never made. Hanif’s sister told Eyewitness News she wasn’t aware of any recall.

“They should definitely be trying harder to get those cars back,” said Alicia Trevino, the last friend to see Hanif alive. Trevino, 17, says the two were best friends. Hanif had just dropped her off and was heading to work when the accident happened. With her father’s permission, Trevino got a tattoo on her side Tuesday of a message about enduring friendship Hanif had written to her.

“She was a very, very special person.”

Hanif, an aspiring nurse, is the second person in the Houston-area whose death has been linked to the faulty airbags. Last year, Carlos Solis, of Spring, was killed when his airbag deployed in another minor accident.

Ten people have been killed in the U.S. More than 100 people have been hurt.

Fourteen automakers are part of the recall. To find out if your vehicle is among them, you can check your vehicle’s VIN at safecar.gov.

Takata’s statement:

    “Our heartfelt condolences go out to the driver’s family in light of this tragic death. Takata is deeply sorry for all fatalities and injuries that have occurred in any case where a Takata airbag inflator has failed to deploy as intended. Takata continues to support all actions that advance vehicle safety and is in constant and close coordination with NHTSA to enhance consumer awareness. Takata strongly urges all consumers to check NHTSA’S https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/ website and contact their dealers immediately if they discover their vehicle is subject to a recall.”

Honda’s Statement:

    “During an inspection today, accompanied by representatives of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Sherriff’s Department of Fort Bend County, Texas, and Takata, American Honda confirmed that the Takata driver’s airbag inflator ruptured in the crash of a 2002 Honda Civic on March 31, 2016, in Fort Bend County, Texas, resulting in the tragic death of the driver. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the family of the driver during this difficult time.”

Honda has shared all available vehicle history information collected to date with NHTSA and will continue to cooperate with NHTSA throughout the process of investigating this crash.

Since 2011, the vehicle involved in this crash has been included in multiple recalls and a market campaign. Multiple mailed recall notices were sent over the course of several years to registered owners of this vehicle, including the current registered owner. Our records indicate that the recall repair was never completed.

American Honda continues to urge owners of Honda and Acura vehicles affected by the Takata airbag inflator recalls to get their vehicles repaired at authorized dealers as soon as possible. Vehicle owners can check their vehicles’ recall status at www.recalls.honda.com for Honda owners or www.recalls.acura.com for Acura owners or by calling their authorized dealer.

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