Automotive News reported that potentially another 85 million Takata airbag inflators in U.S. vehicles could be recalled unless the company can prove they are safe. According to Edmunds, the Takata airbag recall currently affects more than 34 million vehicles in the United States and tens of millions more globally. Presently, NHTSA shows that 7,522,533 airbags have been repaired.
The recall is in effect because the airbags can explode with too much force and spray metal shards inside vehicles. There have been more than 100 injuries reported in the U.S. and 11 deaths recorded worldwide that are related to defective Takata airbag inflators. The most recent fatality occurred when a 17-year old driver from Texas was behind the wheel of a 2002 Honda Civic. Death was caused by shrapnel from the exploding airbag striking her neck and severing an artery.
Vehicles made by 14 different automakers have been recalled to replace front airbags on the driver’s side or passenger’s side, or both in what NHTSA has called “the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history.” The airbags, made by major parts supplier Takata, were mostly installed in cars from the model year 2002 through 2015. If the recall expands to another 85 million airbag inflators, that would mean one in three cars of the estimated 253 million cars on the road today are potential death hazards.
Reuters reported in a February 22 article that Takata produced between 260 million and 285 million ammonium nitrate-based inflators worldwide between 2000 and 2015. Nearly half of those inflators were installed in vehicles sold in the United States.
To discover if your vehicle is subject to recall, try VehicleHistory.com’s free recall search service by entering the VIN or vehicle identification number. This 17-character ID is commonly found on a metal plate located on the driver’s side interior dash, which can be viewed from the outside looking down at the lower corner of the windshield, or on the door frame. The VIN is also recorded on the vehicle’s title and insurance papers.
NHTSA has designated a high priority group on vehicles sold or registered in areas of absolute high humidity because they have the highest risk of rupture. Those areas include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Saipan, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.