Thursday, May 5, 2016 7:37 am
Japanese airbag maker Takata has been ordered by the U.S. government to recall additional 35 to 40 million defective airbags installed in U.S. vehicles by December 2019.
Under the Amended Consent Order issued to Takata this week, the company is required to recall an additional estimated 35-40 million inflators using in the airbags, said the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Wednesday.
Ruptures of the inflators in Takata’s airbags have caused 10 deaths and more than 100 injuries in the United States. The company has already recalled 28.8 million inflators.
“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.
The latest recall will be implemented in five phases between May 2016 and December 2019, with the priority on those with the highest risk, as the NHTSA has identified the root cause behind the inflators’ propensity to rupture.
A combination of time, environmental moisture and fluctuating high temperatures contribute to the degradation of the ammonium nitrate propellant in the inflators. Such degradation can cause the propellant to burn too quickly, rupturing the inflator module and sending shrapnel through the air bag and into the vehicle occupants.
“The science clearly shows that these inflators become unsafe over time, when exposed to humidity and variations of temperature,” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said. “This recall schedule ensures the inflators will be recalled and replaced before they become dangerous.”
This is the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history. Rosekind asked for the cooperation of manufacturers, suppliers and vehicle owners.
“People who receive notification that there is a remedy available for their vehicle should act immediately to have their inflator fixed. All vehicle owners should regularly check SaferCar.gov for information about any open safety recall on their vehicle and what they can do to have it fixed free of charge,” said Rosekind.