Deadly Baton Rouge crash linked to massive Takata airbag recall

Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A terrible crash in July along Jefferson Highway near Drusilla claimed the life of 60-year-old George Robertson Sharp, Jr. The results of an investigation into the incident were released Wednesday, which revealed the exact cause was an exploding Takata airbag inside the man's 2004 Honda Civic.

The problem is with a chemical used inside the device to inflate the airbags. Over time, it can become unstable and at the moment you need it most, that life-saving device could do just the opposite as it could send shards of metal flying through the car. East Baton Rouge Coroner Beau Clark confirmed to 9News Wednesday afternoon that scenario is exactly what happened in this case, listing the 60-year-old's cause of death as multiple blunt force trauma injuries to the neck.

Sharp marks the 20th death worldwide as a result of the defective product and the second in Louisiana. Honda acknowledged its role in the incident in a statement Wednesday. The statement reads in part, "Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with family of the driver during this difficult time."

A video released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) highlights the potential threat, saying there are 34 million cars on the road right now with the problem, which means many people could unknowingly be in danger. The video also claims testing has revealed the greatest risk is in older vehicles, especially in vehicles driven in hot and humid areas.

Luckily, there's a way for drivers to know for sure if their vehicle is under a recall, by checking the status on the NHTSA website. The process is quick and easy. It requires drivers to locate their car's VIN number, which is usually located on the windshield. The number can also be found inside most cars along the driver's side door panel.

Drivers are asked the enter that information on the NHTSA website, where they will receive an immediate answer as to whether their car is affected or not. Honda encourages everyone to check the status of their car.

The repair is absolutely free and handled at local dealerships, but is dependent on the availability of parts.

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