— Another Honda Takata airbag death has been recorded following a January 9 crash of a 2002 Honda Civic in South Carolina.
According to South Carolina authorities, 35-year-old Rekeyon Barnette was driving the Honda Civic when he turned at an intersection and hit another car.
The Lancaster County crash caused the driver's frontal Takata airbag inflator to explode, sending shards of metal into the lower facial area of Mr. Barnette.
"The driver of the vehicle sustained injuries from the ruptured inflator and subsequently died. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the family of the driver." — Honda
It's the 16th confirmed U.S. death caused by an exploding Takata airbag inflator in a Honda vehicle.
Honda investigated the crash with local officials and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and determined the Civic had been under a Takata airbag recall since April 2011. The recall involved the driver's frontal airbag inflator, and Honda says it made more than 100 attempts to contact the owners.
According to the automaker, those 100 attempts began in June 2011 and included phone calls, emails, mailed recall warnings and even making in-person visits. However, the recall repair was never made.
Mr. Barnette wasn't the registered owner of the 2002 Honda Civic and it's not known if he knew the Takata airbag had been recalled.
The previous Honda Takata airbag death also occurred in a 2002 Honda Civic when an Arizona driver crashed in August 2020. That 2002 Civic had also been under an airbag recall since 2011 but was never repaired. The front passenger Takata airbag had also been recalled in 2014 but never replaced.
The Arizona crash caused both frontal Takata airbag inflators to explode, but the driver was the only occupant of the Civic when the crash occurred.
Honda continues to warn vehicle owners to get their cars to dealerships for airbag replacements as soon as possible. U.S. Honda dealers have all the necessary replacement parts available. The recall repairs are free and loaner vehicles are available if required.