Huma Hanif, a Texas teenager, has been reported as the 10th fatality linked to defective Takata airbags, which has led to a massive vehicle safety recall in the United States and worldwide. According to a Reuters news report, Hanif’s brother is now saying that the family never received a recall notice about the faulty airbag. Hanif died March 31 after the 14-year-old Honda Civic she was driving rear-ended another vehicle at an intersection. The airbag deployed.
Fort Bend County Sheriff’s officials who investigated the crash released new details this week saying that the 17-year-old Hanif should have survived this relatively minor accident that crumpled the car’s hood. An autopsy showed that Hanif’s jugular vein and carotid artery were cut by metal shrapnel expelled by the airbag’s inflator. In a video, the sheriff’s department official held up a blood-stained airbag.
Another official displayed a jagged piece of metal identified as the object found in Hanif’s neck. Faizan Hanif, the victim’s brother said the family had not received a recall notice from Honda, which he said might have helped the family avert this horrible tragedy. He urged other Honda owners to get cars with these defective airbags fixed before they too lose a loved one.
A huge concern here of course is that the vehicle, a 2002 Honda Civic, which Hanif was driving was recalled the family never got a recall notice from Honda. This is outrageous! Federal safety regulators have also called out current methods of alerting consumers about vehicle safety recalls as “inadequate.” That is putting it mildly. Honda of course told media that they had sent multiple recall notices on the 2002 Honda Civic, but the family says they never got any of those. So far, automakers have repaired or replaced barely a quarter of the estimated 29 million vehicles equipped with the defective Takata airbags.
The question is: Other than sending out recall notices in snail mail, what are automakers doing to inform consumers about dangerous and defective vehicles. In this day and age where information transfer is instantaneous, why is it so difficult for manufacturers to get the word out on recalls? This is an issue that begs close and intense scrutiny. The lives of consumers depend on it. The young woman who has been marked as the 10th victim of the defective Takata airbags was dreaming about going to college. This is a tragedy that could have and should have been prevented.