Are you driving with a defective air bag? Takata recall far behind

Photo by Christopher Jue/Getty Images

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Photo by Christopher Jue/Getty Images

Only 43 percent of 28.8 million Takata air bags recalled have been replaced, according to a new independent report issued last week.

Recalls have been under way for more than 15 years but companies are on track to fall far short of a Dec. 31 goal of replacing 100 percent of older and more dangerous inflators in air bags, the Detroit News reported.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began coordinating the recalls around two years ago and before that automakers were distributing replacement parts on their own. Typically, automakers fix around 75 percent of vehicles within 18 months after a recall is initiated, the Detroit News found.

The statistics prove troubling, especially as the Takata air bag recalls are expected to increase by up to another 40 million on top of the already recalled 28.8 million, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Faulty Takata air bags may have contributed to the deaths of more than 10 people in the United States so far, according to the NHTSA

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The inflators in the air bags are defective because temperature and humidity fluctuations degrade propellant in them, according to the NHTSA.

The issue can cause the propellant to burn too quickly, causing more pressure than the inflator can stand. In some cases, the issue can cause inflators in the air bags to rupture and send shrapnel through the bag toward drivers and passengers, according to the NHTSA.

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