DETROIT (CBSMiami/AP) — Officials are trying to spread the word about dangerous airbags in recalled cars amid word that the U.S. government is adding more than 3 million vehicles to the warning about faulty air bags that have the potential to kill or injure drivers or passengers in a crash.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Wednesday put out a new list of vehicles, increasing the number from 4.7 million to 7.8 million. The agency urged people to get their cars repaired if they’re being recalled, especially in Florida and along the Gulf Coast.
South Florida attorney Jason Turchin represents a South Florida woman injured by an airbag.
“Her airbag deployed and a metal fragment shot out and struck her in the forehead,” explained Turchin who settled his client’s case three months ago.
The air bag inflators made by parts supplier Takata can rupture, causing metal fragments to fly out when the bags are inflated.
Safety advocates say at least four people have died from the problem. The most recent was a 51-year old woman in Orlando who was driving a 2001 Honda Accord.
“Our data suggests that one out of every six cars on the road has a safety-related recall, whether it be for these airbags, or any other recall that hasn’t been fixed yet,” said Christopher Basso of Carfax.
“It’s extremely important that we follow up with recalls as fast as we can all the time,” said Juan Rivera of AAA.
The warning covers many models from BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota.
As in previous recalls, the fixes will only be made in warm weather climates, where Takata believes high humidity makes the explosions more likely.
On Tuesday evening the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a statement about the recall, saying “While Toyota is recalling a total of 877,000 vehicles, its latest recall involves 247,000 vehicles in high risk regions (i.e. areas with consistently high temperatures and humidity). These vehicles will receive a new airbag to replace the defective part. If airbag demand grows to exceed supply, these consumers will receive an interim remedy that will disable the passenger airbag and a strong warning affixed to the vehicle interior that no one should be allowed in the front passenger seat until such time that a replacement airbag is available.”
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