Exploding Takata air bag probe takes a new turn

Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY 4:30 p.m. EDT August 20, 2015

Federal investigators are looking into whether new air bags have the potential to spew shrapnel when they deploy like the older ones. Nearly 34 million vehicles equipped with Takata air bags are already under recall.


Perhaps more troubling, the case that triggered the expanded probe involves a side air bag. Until now, only driver’s and passenger’s side air bags were under scrutiny.

Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., jointly called for an expanded recall Thursday based on the latest reports.

Takata bags are being blamed for eight deaths and more than 100 injuries from plastic and metal shrapnel from propellant canisters when the bags deploy in a crash.

The event that is causing concern was a June 7 collision between a 2015 Volkswagen Tiguan SUV and a deer, in which a side air bag inflated with too much force, the Associated Press reports.

Volkswagen told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the crash on July 15, AP says, sparking the probe. Last week, the agency sent orders to Takata and VW seeking information on the crash and air bag tests. Deadline for a reply is Aug. 24.