DETROIT - U.S. safety regulators are investigating whether 1.1 million vehicles from five automakers have air bags that could hurt people in a crash.
DETROIT ó U.S. safety regulators are investigating whether 1.1 million vehicles from five automakers have air bags that could hurt people in a crash.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it opened the probe yesterday after getting six reports of air bags rupturing. Three people were hurt when struck by air bags or parts, but the injuries were not life-threatening. Ruptured air bags also donít protect people in crashes.
Vehicles from the 2002 through 2006 model years made by Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Chrysler and Toyota are being investigated.
All have air bags made by parts supplier Takata Corp., which is based in Japan. Takata said yesterday that it is cooperating in the investigation.
The NHTSA said that starting in August of last year, it received complaints of air bags rupturing from drivers of a Honda Civic, a Toyota Corolla and a Mazda6. Takata reported complaints from drivers of a Nissan Sentra and Dodge Charger, according to NHTSA documents.
The safety agency said all the incidents happened in Florida or Puerto Rico, where humidity is high.
The agency said several manufacturers recently have recalled vehicles for rupturing air bags, and itís investigating to find out what other vehicles have the same inflators.
In one complaint from August, a Honda driverís lawyer told the NHTSA that the car was in a crash, and both driver and passenger air bags inflated. The driverís air bag inflator ruptured ďand propelled a 1-inch piece of shrapnel into the driverís right eye.Ē The driver lost sight and suffered cuts requiring 100 stitches, the complaint said.
Toyota Motor Corp. said yesterday that it would recall 2.27 million vehicles worldwide to fix similar problems with front passenger air-bag inflators. About 2.14 million of the cars were recalled last year for a similar problem, but the fix was incomplete.
The company said the initial recall was based on incomplete serial numbers from Takata.
The inflators contained improperly made propellant that could cause them to work abnormally, and possibly cause fires, in a crash. Toyota said it had received one report of a burn on a seat cover from faulty air-bag deployment.
In April 2013, Toyota, Honda Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. recalled nearly 3.4 million older-model vehicles worldwide because of the potential problem with the air bags.
Among the vehicles affected by the recall are 380,000 Toyota vehicles that were inspected after that recall but did not receive new air-bag inflators. Toyota now plans to replace them.