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An airbag defect that's blamed for at least four deaths has led the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue a recall notice for more than 4.7 million vehicles.
The NHTSA is warning drivers of cars subject to the recall to bring them to dealerships immediately. The latest recall brings the total number of cars recalled because of the airbag issue to 12 million worldwide, reports The Washington Post.
What's the defect in these airbags, and which vehicles are subject to this latest recall?
Metal Fragments May Cause Injury, Death
The airbags subject to the recall are made by Japan's Takata Corporation. According to CBS News, problems with the airbags' inflator mechanisms have been reported since 2004. The inflators can potentially explode, sending metal fragments flying into a vehicle's passenger compartment causing serious or, in some cases, fatal injuries.
You can see pictures of one woman's injuries in this report by CBS News:
A 2013 recall for vehicles with defective airbags was followed by more recalls earlier this year. In addition, NHTSA issued a "regional recall" for vehicles in high-humidity states such as Florida and Hawaii, as the airbag problem was believed to be related to humidity. The most recent recall, however, includes vehicles nationwide.
Toyota, Honda, BMW, GM Models Included
The vehicles subject to the most recent Takata airbags recall include both domestic and import vehicles. Among the vehicles affected by the recall are:
To determine whether your vehicle is included in this recall or any other recall, you can search by VIN number using the NHTSA's new online recall search tool.
As The New York Times reported earlier this year, Takata has agreed to undisclosed settlements in several death and injury claims linked to exploding airbags. If you or a loved one have been hurt by a defective airbag, an experienced motor vehicle defects lawyer can help you figure out the best way to proceed.