UPDATE 1-U.S. Virgin Islands sues Takata, Honda over airbags

jueves 26 de mayo de 2016 11:00 GYT

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By David Shepardson

May 26 (Reuters) - The U.S. Virgin Islands sued Takata Corp and Honda Motor Co late on Wednesday over the sale of millions of recalled airbags linked to deadly ruptures.

The U.S. territory joins Hawaii, which earlier this month sued Takata and Honda, the largest user of recalled Takata air bags linked to 13 deaths and more than 100 injuries. The Virgin Islands suit, seeking civil and other penalties, claims the companies committed fraud, used unfair trade practices and were negligent in allowing the use of the unsafe airbags.

Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker said in a statement that there are about 7,000 cars in the U.S. territory equipped with Takata airbags.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said long-term exposure in high absolute humidity areas poses the biggest risk. That includes the Virgin Islands, and Walker said a Virgin Islands resident on St. Croix was gravely injured when her Takata airbag ruptured.

"Each of these vehicles could have a ticking time bomb hidden in the steering wheel or the dash-board," Walker said.

Honda and Takata did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.

Takata faces an ongoing Justice Department criminal investigation. Both Honda and Takata also face class-action lawsuits from owners in a federal court in Miami, along with many other automakers that sold vehicles with Takata air bags.   Continuación...