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At a glance
•To see a list of the affected makes and models, go to www.journalgazette.net/instantrecall

Air bags recalled in hot, humid regions

At least 1.1 million US vehicles affected

– Faulty air bags – which have already led to the recall of millions of cars worldwide – are blamed for a new round of recalls in the U.S.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the government’s auto safety agency, said Monday that BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota will recall cars sold in places where hot, humid weather can potentially affect the air bags.

The older-model cars have air bag inflators that can rupture. If that happens, the air bags might not work properly in a crash, and shards from the broken system could fly out and cause injury.

The automakers all have air bag systems made by Takata Corp., a Tokyo supplier of seat belts, air bags, steering wheels and other auto parts.

NHTSA opened an investigation this month after getting six reports of air bags rupturing in Florida and Puerto Rico. Three people were injured in those cases. An estimated 1.1 million vehicles in the U.S. could be affected, but the total is likely to climb.

Honda, for example, said it will include 10 states and territories in its recall, including Texas, Georgia and South Carolina. Honda says Takata recommended recalling cars in only four places: Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The government says it wanted to act quickly in warm states while it continues to investigate the issue.

“NHTSA supports efforts by automakers to address the immediate risk in areas that have consistently hot, humid conditions over extended periods of time,” the agency said in a statement.

Honda says too much pressure may cause the air bags to deploy with too much force.

In one complaint last August, a Honda driver’s lawyer told NHTSA that the car was in a crash, and driver and passenger air bags both inflated. The driver’s air bag inflator ruptured “and propelled a one-inch piece of shrapnel into the driver’s right eye.” The driver lost sight and suffered cuts requiring 100 stitches, the complaint said.

Takata’s air bags have been the subject of multiple recalls. In April 2013, Toyota, Honda and Nissan recalled nearly 3.4 million older-model vehicles worldwide because of a problem with the propellant in the air bags that could lead to fires.

Takata said it recently realized that the recall didn’t include all of the potentially faulty air bags. This month, Toyota recalled an additional 2.27 million cars globally. On Monday in Japan, Honda, Mazda and Nissan together recalled almost 3 million more.

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