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BMW issues recall after Takata airbags blow apart, hurl shrapnel at drivers

ATLANTA, Ga. — Channel 2 Action News has learned that a new recall involving more Takata airbags has been issued, as reported by our sister station WSB-TV.

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We have been reporting on safety concerns with these airbags for a decade now.

Channel 2 consumer investigator Justin Gray learned the latest recall involves airbags that were not among the more than 60 million already found to be unsafe.

The new BMW recall of Takata airbags is small -- fewer than 500 cars. But the same type of airbag inflator is in 30 million vehicles and for the past three years, federal regulators have had a formal investigation open into potential safety hazards with those millions of airbags.

Channel 2 Action News has shown you in a lab how violent the explosion of a faulty airbag inflator is.

Read: Recall alert: Ford recalls 231K vehicles due to incorrectly installed airbag inflators

And we’ve shown you the dangerous results in real-world crashes when that shrapnel ejects from a faulty airbag.

“I reached up to try to see where the blood was coming from, and my finger went inside of my throat. That’s when I knew I had a major problem,” Cedric Walton told us in 2015.

While more than 67 million faulty Takata airbags have been recalled, there are an additional 30 million in 200 vehicle models from 20 car and truck makers that since 2021 federal regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have been investigating.

Read: Recall alert: Honda recalls 300,000 cars, SUVs over missing seat belt component

It was one of those non-recalled Takata airbags in a 2014 BMW X-3 where last month, according to this NHTSA complaint, “a large piece of metal was projected from the airbag and into the driver’s lung.”

“We don’t know as consumers, we have these airbags in our vehicles right in front of us, you know, and we’re just not sure if it’s a ticking time bomb or not at this point,” said Michael Brooks, who heads the Center for Auto Safety.

The 30 million Takata airbags potentially at risk that have not been recalled contain something called a desiccant -- a chemical that’s supposed to prevent humidity from damaging the airbags.

Since May, Channel 2 Action News has been investigating concerns with 50 million air bag inflators from another company called ARC, which are also at risk of explosions.

In October, NHTSA held a public hearing about potentially recalling those airbags.

“It’s a troubling issue and it makes us wonder, you know, do we need to go back to the drawing board and have some federal regulations that apply to how airbags are designed,” Brooks said.

The final day for public comment on that potential ARC recall of 50 million airbags was Monday.

As for the additional Takata airbags, Gray contacted NHTSA on Monday, who said their investigation into those airbags is currently open.

To see if your vehicle is impacted by a recall, CLICK HERE.

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