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Published: Thu, May 05, 2016
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Takata airbag recall explodes, 70 million cars now at risk


NHTSA has said there are a total of 85 million unrecalled Takata inflators in USA vehicles, some with and without the drying agent.

Takata, which had resisted recalls before being fined a year ago by NHTSA, said it knows of no ruptures in the batch of inflators that have been added to the recalls, nor does it know of any new data or scientific analysis "that suggests any substantial risk with respect to such vehicles".

Under the Amended Consent Order to Takata this week, the parts supplier is mandated to make a series of recalls for affected automakers that will become a part of the safety campaign.

Sadly, these Takata inflators have been exploding with too much force, and it has resulted in injuries and even some deaths, worldwide.

Each air bag has its own inflator, and most vehicles have two or more air bags. That's why replacement parts are being targeted to areas such as the U.S. Gulf Coast, although numerous cars have been recalled nationwide.

Honda says the inflators spewed metal fragments in the crashes, but the cause of the deaths has not been determined.

The two crashes took place on April the 16th and May the 1st in Sabah and Kedah, respectively, and involved ruptured driver-side airbag inflators made by Takata, according to the Honda statement dated May the 4th.

The latest victim was 17-year-old Huma Hanif, killed when her airbag deployed during an accident outside of Houston, Texas.

"Today's action is a significant step in the U.S. Department of Transportation's aggressive oversight of Takata on behalf of drivers and passengers across America", said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. A combination of time, environmental moisture and fluctuating high temperatures contribute to the degradation of the ammonium nitrate propellant in the inflators.

But many owners of cars or trucks with airbags that are included on the recall list will have to wait months for a replacement airbag to become available. "NHTSA will continue to evaluate all available research and will act quickly to protect safety".

"We don't want to introduce new safety risks by pushing too fast", Rosekind said.

NHTSA largely ratified those conclusions Wednesday as the official root cause of the air-bag failures. Some cars now have both driver and passenger inflators that are being recalled.

According to NHTSA, three factors - time, moisture, and temperature - affect an airbag's likelihood of rupturing, and because manufacturers are struggling to compile enough replacement parts to meet demand, NHTSA is prioritizing remedies by geographic region. Older model cars, as well as those in locations with year-round heat and humidity, are thought to be at the greatest risk. The auto dealer and Honda said they had sent six air-bag recall notices to Hanif's family, but family members said they had not received the notices.

 

 

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