A driver in Japan was injured by a Takata airbag that exploded in a Honda Fit, Honda Motor Co said Tuesday.
Few details about the incident were given, but Honda said the explosion occurred late last month in the passenger-side airbag in one of its Fit compact multi-purpose vehicles. As with so many other Takata airbag malfunctions, the airbag in this incident reportedly behaved more like a bomb than a life-saving safety device, blasting metal shrapnel into the vehicle and causing slight burns to the driver’s leg.
Fortunately the driver in this case was able to escape serious injury. Had the driver’s side airbag exploded, the outcome could have been much worse. So far, 16 deaths and about 180 injuries have been linked to defective airbags made by Japanese supplier Takata around the world. Eleven of the Takata-related fatalities occurred in the U.S., as have most of the reported injuries, and all but one of the deaths occurred inside Honda vehicles.
According to Newsweek, a Takata spokesman said the company had received a report of the Honda Fit incident and that it was working with the automaker to confirm the details.
In addition to managing the largest automotive recall in history, Takata has been working to settle criminal allegations with U.S. agencies. Last week, the company agreed to plead guilty to criminal wrongdoing and pay the U.S. $1 billion to end a Department of Justice investigation into its handling of the deadly airbags, which have been installed in more than 100 million vehicles globally.
Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) imposed a fine of $200 million, the largest civil penalty in the agency’s history, on Takata for violating the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. NHTSA also for the first time ever used its authority to accelerate recall repairs, underscoring the urgency of the airbag problem.