US issues recall for 5 million more Takata airbags, a month after 9th related US death

A technician holding a recalled Takata airbag inflator at a Honda dealership's service department in Miami, on June 25, 2015.
A technician holding a recalled Takata airbag inflator at a Honda dealership's service department in Miami, on June 25, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Safety officials announced on Friday (Jan 22) the recall of another five million Takata airbags in cars in the United States just a month after a ninth airbag-linked US death was revealed.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall announcement covers driver-side airbags and includes, for the first time, cars from Volkswagen and Audi.

NHTSA spokesman Gordon Trowbridge said the five million is a rough estimate, adding: "It's a massive safety crisis."

The inflators for the airbags can erupt and send shrapnel into occupants of the vehicle.

Nine people in the United States have died in accidents tied to the airbag problem, and one outside the country.

The Japanese company has been forced to recall some 28 million airbags in cars around the world because of the issue, which it is accused of having attempted to hide.

The new recall comes after one person died in a crash in South Carolina in December with the airbag being considered a factor.

In November, the NHTSA announced a record US$200 million (S$286 million) fine on Takata for providing inadequate and inaccurate information about the airbags and for failing to recall them quickly once it became aware of the problem.