WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Japanese auto parts manufacturing company Takata has agreed to recall nearly 34 million of its defective air bags that have been blamed for at least six deaths around the world, the US Department of Transportation announced in a statement on Tuesday.
“[A]ir bag manufacturer Takata has acknowledged that a defect exists in its air bag inflators,” the statement read. “Takata has agreed to a national recall of certain types of driver and passenger side air bag inflators. The action expands the number of vehicles to be recalled for defective Takata inflators to nearly 34 million.”
The Transportation Department said the air bags were made with a propellant that can deteriorate over time and leads to ruptures.
However, the Department noted that researchers have not yet determined a “definitive root cause of the inflator malfunctions.”
The NHTSA said it will begin a formal legal process to organize the replacement of those defective Takata air bags under the Agency’s legal authority.
“Today is a major step forward for public safety,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in the statement.
Foxx stated the Transportation Department is taking “proactive steps necessary to ensure that defective inflators are replaced with safe ones as quickly as possible.”
He added that “the highest risks are addressed first,” and pledged US authorities “will not stop our work until every air bag is replaced.”
Since 2008, automakers have recalled nearly 17 million vehicles with Takata airbags that they say can potentially rupture and cause injuries, and even deaths when deployed, according to the NHTSA.