Major airbag recall

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Airbags are supposed to protect passengers, but the government says some airbags have a defect that could hurt drivers and front seat passengers.

The agency that monitors auto safety is issuing an urgent warning about defective airbags.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expanding a recall from close to five million vehicles to nearly eight million because of a defect in an airbag made by a Japanese company, Takata.

There’s a problem with the chemical that sets off the bags, and the container on the chemical propellant can rupture during a collision, spraying drivers and front passengers with metal fragments.

They explode like shrapnel.

At least two people have died, and another two deaths are suspected, but not confirmed.

Using uncommonly strong language, the federal government is warning owners to act with urgency to get their recalled cars or trucks fixed.

Ten manufacturers have used the risky airbags: Toyota, Honda, BMW and Nissan among them.

This is not a new recall.

The first airbags were flagged for recall in 2008, resulting in more than 16 million vehicles recalled world wide.

The recall does not affect most California cars. The warning is directed mainly at cars in more humid climates where the inflators deployed improperly.

Places such as Southern Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

You can go online with the automaker and enter your vehicle ID number to see if your car is affected by the recall.

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