Another fatality has reportedly resulted in the addition of another 5 million vehicles to the massive recall revolving around Takata airbags.
The Detroit Bureau is reporting that Mark Rosekind, the administrator at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is expanding the recall to another 5 million inflators in the U.S., though the number of affected vehicles is not immediately known. The recall currently covers 23 million units in 19 million vehicles in America and 41 million vehicles worldwide, and contributed to 2015 being the highest on record for vehicle recalls.
As a refresher, the problem centres on defective inflator modules that could rupture on airbag deployment resulting in metal shards shooting into the cabin. It originally came to light in spring 2013, affecting 3.4 million vehicles. The problem has reportedly been linked to another death (the tenth), this time in a 2006 Ford Ranger pickup (the majority of linked deaths have happened in Honda vehicles).
NHTSA has urged all manufacturers to check closely into vehicles that may use Takata airbags, which currently spreads across vehicles from more than a dozen manufacturers. It has also penalized Takata numerous times in order to force the company to comply in terms of providing information on its procedures and making amendments.
The administration is also aware that this may not be the end of the recall and the other models and model year vehicles could crop up as the investigation delves increasingly deeper. It’s urging manufacturers to remain vigilant about the possibility of ever using an airbag from Takata.
Vehicle owners can check on the status of their vehicles under the recall either at NHTSA.org or through their vehicle manufacturers’ sites.
“This is a massive safety crisis,” concluded NHTSA spokesman Gordon Trowbridge.