How dangerous air bags can find their way into used cars

LAS VEGAS — A Nevada crash that nearly killed a young woman has exposed a hole in the government’s efforts to get dangerous Takata air bag inflators off the road: There’s nothing that prevents the devices from being taken from wrecked cars and reused.

Karina Dorado’s trachea was punctured by shrapnel from an inflator in an otherwise minor crash in Las Vegas. She was rushed to a trauma center, where surgeons removed pieces that damaged her vocal cords.

Dorado, 18, is among nearly 200 people injured or killed by the inflators, which can explode when the chemical propellant inside deteriorates. What’s different about her case is how the inflator wound up in her 2002 Honda Accord.


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According to AutoCheck, a service that tracks vehicle histories, the car was given a salvage title, repaired and resold in Las Vegas last spring.

Engineers from Honda inspected Dorado’s car after the crash and traced the serial number from the blown-apart inflator to a 2001 Accord, which had been covered by a recall but never had the inflator replaced.

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