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Family Blames Takata Airbag for Woman's Death

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Detroit, MIThe children of a Michigan woman who died earlier this month say their mother never fully recovered from Takata airbag injuries sustained in a low-speed crash in 2014, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Dianne Moulton died Feb. 2, three years after the Takata airbag in her 2002 Honda CR-V exploded in a parking lot collision in Dearborn Heights.

According to the Detroit Free Press: "It's just so scary seeing those cars drive around," Brad Moulton said of other vehicles that could have hazardous Takata airbags. "I just don't want it to happen to anyone else."

Last month the US Justice Department announced that Takata will pay $1 billion to the US Government for concealing information regarding its defective airbags. The Takata airbag recalls are the largest in US history, and the airbags have caused several deaths.

“For more than a decade, Takata repeatedly and systematically falsified critical test data related to the safety of its products, putting profits and production schedules ahead of safety,” Andrew Weissman, chief of the Justice Department's fraud section said in a statement.

The Takata airbag injuries are caused by the airbag’s inflator, a metal cartridge loaded with propellant wafers, which in some cases has ignited with explosive force. If the inflator housing ruptures in a crash, metal shards from the airbag can be sprayed like shrapnel throughout the passenger cabin.

According to a 2015 Bloomberg News article, Dianne Moulton was Christmas shopping in 2015 when her 2002 Honda CR-V collided with a parking lot pole and her airbag exploded, causing her to suffer multiple facial fractures and broken bones in both of her arms and wrists.

“I was just making a U-turn in the parking lot and I bumped into the light pole,” said Moulton in the article, estimating she was going less than 20 miles per hour. “Everything was like I hit a Mack truck or a bomb went off. The bags just came flying out and there was smoke all in the car."

The 2002 Honda CR-V has had four airbag recalls since 2004, the most recent occurring in 2015. The first recall was for airbag wiring that affected the inflation rate. The other three were for faulty inflators that in the event of a crash could rupture and strike the driver or other occupants with "metal fragments" possibly causing serious injury or death," according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Consumer Reports announced in January that the Takata inflator recall has tripled in size over the past year and will impact 42 million vehicles in the US, with the total number of airbags being between 64 and 69 million.

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