Teenager's Death Likely Marks 8th US Fatality From Takata Airbag Explosion, NHTSA Says

The "tragic" death underscores need for speedy recall repairs, the NHTSA warns.

"This young person’s death is tragic and it underscores why we are continuing to work so hard" to take care of recalls, Trowbridge said, adding that most rupture fatalities occur in what would otherwise be “easily survivable” accidents.

Expressing "heartfelt condolences," Takata, in a statement, said today, "We are working in close collaboration with Honda and NHTSA to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding this tragic situation. Takata's number one priority is the safety of the driving public.”

The company added: “We are continuing to work closely with NHTSA and our automaker customers to do everything we can to advance vehicle safety."

About 23 million passenger- and driver-side airbag inflators manufactured by Takata have been recalled after automakers discovered the inflators were prone to rupture, spraying metal shrapnel into the cab. The recall, the largest in U.S. history, affects about 19 million vehicles.

Nationwide, just over one-quarter of all recalled vehicles have been repaired, Trowbridge said. In high-humidity regions, where risk is significantly higher, over one-third have been repaired. The pace of repairs is accelerating rapidly, he added.

Still, “every day an inflator remains in a vehicle means more risk to public safety,” Trowbridge said. "We’ve got kind of a mess on our hands here."