U.S. auto safety regulators are demanding that an air bag recall be extended nationwide, but the Japanese manufacturer of the defective air bags says the expanded scope of the repairs could be dangerous.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had previously called for replacement of driver's side air bags equipped with inflators built by Japan's Takata Corporation on vehicles in high-humidity areas. That affected about eight million vehicles in several coastal states along the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific island state of Hawaii.
Authorities say that high humidity causes the air bags to deploy with too much force, hitting passengers with metal fragments. At least five deaths worldwide have been linked to the faulty Takata air bags, four in the U.S. and one in Malaysia.
The regulators now are calling for Takata and 10 automakers to make the air bag repairs nationwide, which could add millions of vehicles to the recall list.
So far, Takata has not agreed to the expanded recall, saying that a recall across the U.S. "could potentially" divert replacement air bags "from where they're needed" in the high-humidity states.
The U.S. said the air bags have been implicated in two other accidents outside the original recall zone, causing another fatality and an injury. Takata says it has tested nearly 1,000 driver and passenger air bag inflators outside the high humidity areas and none has ruptured.
Some information for this report comes from AP.