Japanese manufacturer Takata expands defective airbag recall

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed on Tuesday that the Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata will declare 33.8 million cars unsafe due to airbag defects. The move would double the company’s previous recall of 17 million vehicles.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has also created a website for users to find if their recalled car needs to be repaired.

When deployed, Takata’s defective airbags can ”explode violently”
and spray metal pieces inside the car. Six people have died, and at least 100 injuries have been reported from the airbag defects since first reports of Takata’s defective airbags in 2000. The root cause is unknown, but high humidity and moisture is thought to be one of the reasons for the explosions.

According to the New York Times, the government agency has been “prodding the company since late last year” to recognize the cars as defective. Takata has pushed back against the agency, including at one point saying they couldn’t be forced to recall the defective cars.

In February, U.S. safety regulators began fining Takata $14,000 a day for not cooperating with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s investigation.

Now, the Detroit News reports, “Takata is expected to announce that it has filed a series of four defect information reports with U.S. auto safety officials declaring about 33.8 million vehicles with both driver and passenger air bag inflators defective.”

Anthony Foxx, the U.S. transportation secretary said in a press release, “Today is a major step forward for public safety. The Department of Transportation is taking the proactive steps necessary to ensure that defective inflators are replaced with safe ones as quickly as possible, and that the highest risks are addressed first. We will not stop our work until every air bag is replaced.”