The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has demanded that automakers issue a nationwide recall of all vehicles with faulty driver’s side airbags made by Takata Corporation.
With its announcement, federal officials are calling for a significant expansion of the initial recall, which had applied only to cars in certain regions with high humidity. The wet climate was said to exacerbate the airbags’ defects.
But the agency said on Tuesday that a recent airbag failure outside the areas identified convinced it that it a broader course of action was needed.
“By demanding this national recall, NHTSA has demonstrated once again that it will follow data and evidence to protect the lives of Americans on the road and to hold manufacturers accountable,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.
The earlier recall affected roughly 7.8 million vehicles in the U.S. made by Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors. The latest recommendation by the NHTSA would add millions more vehicles to that tally.
The agency also called on the automakers, as well as Takata, to provide “a detailed report and produce all related documents” related to testing of the airbags in question. Earlier this month, former Takata employees told The New York Times that the company knew about the airbags’ defects for a decade but did nothing to fix the problem and even hid evidence from tests that showed the products to be faulty.