NHTSA investigates 30M U.S. vehicles due to airbag inflators

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating 30 million vehicles in the United States due to potentially defective Takata airbag inflators.

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Reuters broke the story Sunday after examining a government document that has not yet become public.

Reuters reported that the vehicles investigated span 2001 through 2019 model years.

The cars were built by companies including:

  • Honda
  • Ford
  • Toyota
  • General Motors
  • Nissan
  • Subaru
  • Tesla
  • Ferrari
  • Mazda
  • Daimler
  • BMW
  • Chrysler (now part of Stellantis NV)
  • Porsche
  • Jaguar Land Rover (Owned by Tata Motors)

Both the NTHSA and the automakers involved would not comment before the official release of the report, which is expected Monday, Reuters reported.

The investigation is looking at inflators with a desiccant or drying substance in them. There have been no reported ruptures of vehicles with the substance in them.

“While no present safety risk has been identified, further work is needed to evaluate the future risk of non-recalled desiccated inflators,” the NHTSA said in the report, according to Reuters. “Further study is needed to assess the long-term safety of desiccated inflators.”

Takata airbags have been the subject of recalls in the past. More than 67 million Takata airbag inflators have been recalled in the U.S. with more than 100 million recalled worldwide.

The inflators can make metal fragments fly when the airbag deploys, which could be deadly. The cause was found to be the propellant breaking down after long-term exposures to high-temperature fluctuations and humidity, according to the NHTSA.

The decade-long airbag recall was the largest car safety recall in history.

At least 28 people have been killed in the world from faulty inflators, 19 of them in the U.S. and the latest death happening in January, according to Cars.com. Another 400 people have been hurt, according to Consumer Reports.

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