US Agency Warns Car Owners to Get Air Bags Fixed - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

US Agency Warns Car Owners to Get Air Bags Fixed

Posted:
DETROIT (AP) - The U.S. government issued an urgent plea to more than 4.7 million people to get the air bags in their cars fixed, amid concern that a defect in the devices can possibly kill or injure the driver or passengers.
   
The inflator mechanisms in the air bags can rupture, causing metal fragments to fly out when the bags are deployed in crashes. Safety advocates say at least four people have died from the problem and there have been multiple injuries.
   
Multiple automakers have recalled vehicles in the U.S. over the past two years to repair air bag inflators made by Takata Corp., a Tokyo-based supplier of seat belts, air bags, steering wheels and other auto parts. In a statement Monday, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration warned owners of those cars to act right away.
   
The agency has been investigating the problem since June, and has cited reports of six inflators rupturing, causing three injuries.
   
Worldwide, automakers have recalled about 12 million vehicles because of the problem.
   
The warning covers cars made by Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, General Motors and Ford. Passenger or driver air bags or both could have the faulty inflators. Safety advocates say the problem could affect more than 20 million vehicles in the U.S.
   
The rare action by federal regulators comes three weeks after a Sept. 29 crash near Orlando, Florida, that claimed the life of a 46-year-old woman. In that crash, Hien Thi Tran suffered severe neck wounds that could have been caused by metal fragments flying out of the air bag on her 2001 Honda Accord. Her Accord was among the models being recalled.
   
One police agency concluded that the air bags caused her wounds, while another is still investigating. NHTSA is seeking information in the case.
   
Toyota on Monday issued a recall covering passenger air bags in 247,000 older model vehicles including the Lexus SC, Corolla, Matrix, Sequoia and Tundra. Like many earlier recalls, Toyota's covers vehicles in South Florida, along the Gulf Coast, in Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Saipan and American Samoa - all areas that have high absolute humidity.
   
Toyota said it's working with Takata to pinpoint the cause of the rupture and to gauge the influence of high absolute humidity, which is a measurement of water vapor in the air.
   
Toyota could expand the recall to more areas pending further testing, according to spokesman John Hanson. Toyota says it knows of no crashes or injuries in the recalled cars.
   
NHTSA urged people to check if their car has been recalled by going to https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/ and typing in their vehicle identification number.
   
Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, estimated there are 20 million to 25 million cars in the U.S. alone that are equipped with the faulty air bags.
   
In the Florida case, Tran turned left in front of another vehicle and the front ends collided. Her air bag inflated. The original report on the death said the seat belt could not have cut the right side of her neck. Also, there was no broken glass and no other apparent cause of the neck wounds.
   
Initially the case was turned over to the Orange County Sheriff's Office, whose homicide investigators determined that the air bag caused Tran's neck injuries, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Because the death appears to be traffic-related, the matter was sent back to the Florida Highway Patrol, which has not finished its investigation.
   
The Highway Patrol will call in an air bag expert to help make the determination, said Sgt. Kim Montes. The car's steering wheel and spokes were not damaged and appeared to be a normal air bag deployment, she said. Investigators also will look for evidence of metal fragments in the car and try to determine what caused Tran's neck wounds, Montes said.
   
Last week, two U.S. senators questioned why the safety agency is limiting the recall to certain regions.
   
They cited the May 27, 2009, death of 18-year-old Ashley Parham of Oklahoma City as proof the problem can occur in areas where humidity isn't so prevalent. Parham was driving a 2001 Honda Accord across a high school parking lot in Midwest City, Oklahoma, when it hit another car. The air bag inflated and sent shards of metal into her neck, causing her death.
   
Takata said Monday it supports Toyota's recall decision and will continue to support NHTSA and its customers with replacement parts and technical analysis.


  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Greenwood Elementary School Cuts Ribbon for New Playground

    Greenwood Elementary School Cuts Ribbon for New Playground

    Wednesday, November 14 2018 12:43 PM EST2018-11-14 17:43:21 GMT
    Wednesday, November 14 2018 2:49 PM EST2018-11-14 19:49:28 GMT
    (Photo: WBOC)(Photo: WBOC)
    (Photo: WBOC)(Photo: WBOC)
    The Somerset County, Maryland community gathered Wednesday afternoon to cut the ribbon for a new playground. The old playground was ruined after it caught fire in July due to arson.More
    The Somerset County, Maryland community gathered Wednesday afternoon to cut the ribbon for a new playground. The old playground was ruined after it caught fire in July due to arson.More
  • NASA Wallops Rocket Launch Rescheduled for Friday

    NASA Wallops Rocket Launch Rescheduled for Friday

    Wednesday, November 14 2018 11:06 AM EST2018-11-14 16:06:14 GMT
    Wednesday, November 14 2018 11:28 AM EST2018-11-14 16:28:26 GMT
    The Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with Cygnus spacecraft aboard, is seen on Pad-0A, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Credit: NASA/Joel KowskyThe Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with Cygnus spacecraft aboard, is seen on Pad-0A, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky
    The Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with Cygnus spacecraft aboard, is seen on Pad-0A, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Credit: NASA/Joel KowskyThe Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with Cygnus spacecraft aboard, is seen on Pad-0A, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky
    An unmanned cargo rocket originally set to blast off Thursday from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility to the International Space Station has been postponed to Friday morning due to the poor weather forecast.More
    An unmanned cargo rocket originally set to blast off Thursday from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility to the International Space Station has been postponed to Friday morning due to the poor weather forecast. More
  • Pickup Truck Driver Killed After Bus Collision Near Cheswold

    Pickup Truck Driver Killed After Bus Collision Near Cheswold

    Wednesday, November 14 2018 9:51 AM EST2018-11-14 14:51:57 GMT
    Wednesday, November 14 2018 11:28 AM EST2018-11-14 16:28:11 GMT
    A 42-year-old man from Kenton, Delaware died after his pickup truck collided with a tour bus near Cheswold late Tuesday night.More
    A 42-year-old man from Kenton, Delaware died after his pickup truck collided with a tour bus near Cheswold late Tuesday night. More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices