The renewed warning is linked to the potential for the inflator mechanisms in the air bags to explode, causing metal shrapnel to shoot out and hit vehicle occupants when the bags are deployed.
According to The Washington Post (10.23.14), defective airbags were linked to four deaths and more than 100 injuries. Automakers mainly focused their urgent recalls in Southern states since it was believed that the problem was related to extended exposure to consistently high humidity and temperatures, said the NHTSA.
Attorney at Law David Perecman, founder of The Perecman Firm, and a number of lawmakers in Congress said that every defective airbag should be recalled, not just those in the South, even if it means more than 20 million devices need to be replaced.
“Drivers who find that their vehicles have been recalled should take them to the dealer immediately, no matter where they live,” said Perecman. “It is unacceptable for people to be driving defective cars that could be dangerous.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration now points to ten automakers that used airbags made by the Takata Company in Tokyo, Japan. These manufacturers are BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota.
Car owners who want to check whether their vehicle is impacted by the Takata recalls should go to http://www.safercar.gov/.
“If there are not enough replacement inflators for the recalled vehicles, as the NHTSA has said, the alternative should be a loaner car with safe airbags,” said Perecman. “People should be able to protect themselves and continue to drive. Driving with the defective airbags will never be safe.”
The Washington Post story cited is “Defective air bags raise questions about automakers’ ability to handle gigantic recall.”