The death of a woman in a recent car crash in Louisiana is probably the seventh fatality linked to Takata Corp.’s defective air-bag inflators in the U.S., the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.
The statement comes just days after the mother of Kylan Langlinais filed a lawsuit claiming that when her daughter’s Honda Civic hit a utility pole in April the air bag deployed with too much force and sprayed shrapnel that ultimately led to her death.
“After examination of the vehicle and other evidence, NHTSA has concluded that a ruptured Takata air-bag inflator is likely to have been involved,” Mark Rosekind, the agency’s administrator, said in an e-mailed statement Friday without commenting on the lawsuit.
The agency has been trying to speed the pace of repairs for a lingering defect that’s now estimated to affect about 34 million air-bag inflators. Automakers and regulators have had trouble reaching every owner because the defect dates back years and many of the cars have changed hands.
Registration records indicate Langlinais bought her car, a 2005 Honda Civic, in October 2014, Honda Motor Co. said in a statement Friday.
Langlinais, 22, didn’t receive a recall notice for her Civic until after the April 5 crash, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Honda said it’s in contact with Langlinais’s family members to address their concerns. The Japanese automaker is cooperating with the U.S. government investigation, and a NHTSA representative was present during the inspection of the ruptured inflator.
“This tragedy underscores the necessity of the actions NHTSA is taking to ensure that every vehicle on America’s roads has a safe air bag,” Rosekind said.