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Articles Posted in Air Bags

Takata Corporation has expanded its air bag recall to nearly 34 million devices. Already, six fatalities and more than 100 injuries that have been linked to exploding shrapnel from these defective safety devices. As part of an agreement reached with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Takata has admitted that these air bags are flawed.

Until recently the recall affected over 16 million autos with Takata side passenger inflators and only in regions in the U.S. with high humidity. The recall now affects close to 34 million cars and trucks and has gone national. The safety devices were made with a propellant that can degrade.

A Takata air bag with a propellant that has degraded may be at risk of inflating too fast, which could create extra pressure that may make the air bag rupture and shoot metal shards into the vehicle. The metal pieces can cause puncture wounds, organ damage, cuts, bruises, eye injuries, and blindness—not to mention that an exploding air bag cannot properly provide protection during a Boston car crash.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is ordering Takata Corp. to preserve air bag inflators that were removed during the manufacturer’s recall process. The NHTSA wants the evidence kept for both its own probe and for any air bag defect lawsuits. Dozens of injuries and at least five fatalities have been linked to the safety issue.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said that NHTSA would upgrade the Takata probe to an engineering analysis. This should help determine the actual cause of the air bag failure, as well as whether Takata refused to tell the government agency about the safety defect and violated safety laws and rules.

In the last seven years, car manufacturers have recalled some 17 million autos because they came with Takata air bags. The safety devices are at risk of rupturing upon deployment, which may cause them to spit out sharp fragments that can lead to serious injury or prove fatal. Just last year, BMW, Honda, Chrysler, Mazda, and Ford issued national recalls over defective Takata air bags located on the driver side of many of their vehicles. Toyota, Subaru, General Motors, Nissan, and Mitsubishi later joined these manufacturers in recalling autos with possibly defective passenger-side air bags. The affected vehicles were located in geographic areas that experience high absolute humidity on a regular basis.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it wants a nationwide recall of vehicles outfitted with certain side frontal side air bags manufactured by Takata. The move comes after the regulator decided that the manufacturer is not acting swiftly enough to expand the recall of defective air bags that may rupture when deployed.

Already there have been five deaths, four in the U.S., linked to the faulty auto safety device, which may shoot out shrapnel when rupturing. Today, two U.S. Senators said there might even be a sixth death linked to the deadly air bags. All of the air bag deaths occurred in Honda vehicles.

A national recall would broaden what has to date been regional action involving 4.1 million vehicles in states that are humid and hot, which is where the safety devices are more likely to fail. Automakers involved in that initiative included Mazda, Honda, Ford, BMW, and Chrysler. NHTSA said that unless Takata and the car manufacturers swiftly agree to the wider recall, it will use its authority to make sure that such an initiative happens.

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