UPDATE: Air Bag Safety Recall List Grows

Wednesday, May 4th 2016, 1:58 pm
By: News On 6

U.S. safety regulators on Wednesday more than doubled what was already the largest recall in U.S. history, adding an additional 35 million to 40 million Takata inflators to the 28.8 million already recalled.

These recall expansions are planned to take place in phases between May 2016 and December 2019, the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in a release.

"The most dangerous inflators are targeted first," Mark Rosekind, NHTSA's administrator, said during a news conference Wednesday.

The five recall phases are based on prioritization of risk, determined by the age of the inflators and exposure to high humidity and fluctuating high temperatures that accelerate the degradation of the chemical propellant, the agency said.

The expansions mean that all Takata ammonium nitrate-based propellant driver and passenger frontal air bag inflators without a chemical drying agent, also known as a desiccant, will be recalled, NHTSA said.

A defect can cause air bags to explode and fire off shrapnel, with 10 known deaths in the United States and 11 worldwide. More than 100 people have been injured.

In November, U.S. auto safety regulators announced a fine of up to $200 million for the Japan-based company -- $70 million for mishandling the way it recalled the millions of air bag inflators and an additional $130 million if its settlement with the NHTSA is violated.

NHTSA has created some online resources to help consumers whose vehicle may have a defective air bag made by Takata.

How to check

The NHTSA recommends people enter their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) at this website: https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/.

How to keep updated on the recalls

The NHTSA has set up a website dedicated to the Takata recalls:http://www.safercar.gov/rs/takata/index.html.

The NHTSA says the website will contain regular updates, recall lists, and information on the status of the Takata recalls and its investigation.