Takata airbag rupture linked to 11th US death

SAN FRANCISCO - The rupture of a recalled airbag made by the Japanese company Takata has been linked to an 11th US death, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Thursday.

The federal agency confirmed that a crash fatality in Riverside County, California on September 30 was the latest of nearly a dozen US fatalities connected to the recalled air bags.

The woman was driving a 2001 Honda Civic, which the NHTSA said was included in the group of Honda and Acura vehicles the agency had identified as posing "substantially higher risk" - especially in hot and humid regions.

Tokyo-based Takata - which represents 20 per cent of the global market for seatbelts and airbags - has been hammered by a defect in its airbag inflators linked to at least 15 deaths and scores of injuries worldwide.

About 100 million Takata airbags have been recalled, some 70 million in the US.

The defect can send metal and plastic shrapnel from the inflator canister hurtling toward drivers and passengers when an airbag is deployed.

The main cause of the defect remains unclear but a combination of time, environmental moisture and fluctuating high temperatures is a likely culprit, the NHTSA said.