Takata doubles airbag recall to 34M over shrapnel concerns

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Takata is nearly doubling the size of its already massive recall for faulty airbags, according to a government source. The move makes it the largest auto recall in history.

There have been at least five deaths tied to the faulty airbags, but Takata has previously resisted demands by regulators to get all the affected vehicles off of the road.

Takata has already recalled airbags used in about 18 million vehicles for the problem, but this move will bring that number up to about 34 million autos.

The airbags could explode and potentially send shrapnel into the face and body of both the driver and front seat passenger. Victims appeared to have been shot or stabbed, according to police who responded to the accidents. Many others had serious injuries including vision damage from shrapnel hitting them in the eye.

Most of the fatalities and most of the recalled cars were made by Honda.

Takata had previously insisted that the airbag problems were limited to cars in regions with very humid weather, and it sought to limit the scope of the recall to those areas.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration initially agreed to that limited recall, but went on to push Tataka and 10 separate automakers to expand the recall. The agency even fined Takata $14,000 a day, the maximum, for failing to cooperate with its probe. That’s added up to $1.2 million as of Tuesday.

Before this, the biggest recall on record was from Ford, which recalled 21 million cars in 1980 for a transmission problem that could allow cars to shift out of park, according to Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety.

Consumers can check to see if their car is included in the recall by going to a special website created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at http://www.safercar.gov/rs/takata/index.html.

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