Cyprus Mail

Fatal car crash case now with legal services

Millions of vehicles with Takata airbags have been recalled

Police said on Thursday that the case file of a young driver who died, perhaps due to a faulty airbag, is now with the legal services.

Police spokesman Christos Andreou said that from the first moment of investigation there were indications that the death of 24-year-old Kyriakos Oxynos was not a typical car crash.

Speaking to CyBC on Thursday, the spokesman elaborated on the case brought to light by the young driver’s mother – Maria Loui – who carried out her own research into the fatal January crash.

The crash occurred on January 23 when the car driven by the 24-year-old veered off course on Griva Digeni Avenue, in the Kykkos Metochi area of Nicosia, hit the divider and crashed into a tree.

The transport department on Wednesday confirmed that it is closely monitoring the recall process for vehicles with airbags from a specific manufacturer: Takata.

Head of the association of motor vehicle importers (Semo) Alexis Anninos urged the public on Thursday not to panic.

“These recalls are carried out as a precautionary measure, it does not necessarily mean that each such product will have this outcome,” he told the philenews podcast.

“The only positive from this situation is that the public has become more aware of the process surrounding recalls,” he added.

Anninos emphasised the importance of following the EU’s alert system for dangerous non-food products, Rapex.

That, he said, must be considered when buying a used car – particularly as the manufacturer of the airbag is now out of business, he said.

According to the mother’s findings, millions of vehicles with Takata airbags have been recalled after it was determined they have contributed to several serious injuries and deaths.

Despite this, she said that the owners of the car her son was driving – his grandmother and father – were not aware of the defective airbags and claimed they had not been notified about them.

The issue reported was that high temperatures can cause these specific airbags to explode when deployed due to ammonium nitrate, the chemical used by the maker, sending metal shrapnel through the body.

On Wednesday, Anninos confirmed that several car manufacturers have ordered recalls for vehicles with Takata airbags.

“Recalls are normal and they are necessary for safety matters,” he said, adding that recalls are being called in relation to other products, not just those made by Takata.

He went on to explain that the way recalls work in the EU is that manufacturers notify the relevant EU bodies which in turn inform distributors, and through them, car owners.

In the case of Cyprus, the process is facilitated through the road transport department, he said.

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