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[WASHINGTON] Japan's Takata has expanded the number of alleged incidents related to its defective car airbags to 105 injuries and six deaths, a US lawmaker said Monday.
Takata recently provided updated information to the US Senate Commerce Department said Bill Nelson, the ranking member of the panel.
"Unfortunately, it's more bad news," the Democrat told the committee that has been investigating Takata's flawed airbags and the resulting recalls.
The airbags can deploy with excessive explosive power, spraying potentially fatal shrapnel inside the vehicle. About 20 million vehicles have been recalled worldwide to fix the problem.
Nelson recalled that earlier in the year Takata had received unconfirmed reports of 64 injuries and five deaths allegedly tied to the exploding airbags.
According to the most recent data as of the end of January, Nelson said, "Takata had identified 40 more alleged incidents of rupturing airbags, including one death."
Nelson also spoke of an injury suffered in March from a ruptured Takata airbag in a Honda 2003 Civic sedan. Takata confirmed that injury, a Nelson spokesman told AFP.
Last month, Takata said it would double its production of replacement airbags in the next six months in response to a massive global safety recall.
Nelson said that the reason why the airbag inflators are failing was still unknown.
"We need more replacement inflators. But, more importantly, we need to make sure they're actually safe instead of just producing more of the same, potentially defective inflators," he said.
"It is my understanding that Honda and perhaps others are taking steps to ensure the safety of the replacement inflators. That work needs to happen as soon as possible, and be validated by an independent, third party."