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The recall of defective airbags manufactured by Japanese auto parts company Takata has been expanded to nearly 34 million cars, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced on Wednesday. 

Takata had previously issued a recall of about 8 million cars built using faulty airbags that were found to explode in some cases when they were deployed in humid conditions. 

The recall was later expanded to include 17 million cars, after federal regulators pressured Takata to expand its recall nationwide. 

{mosads}The highway safety administration said Wednesday that the company has now admitted another 16 million cars have faulty airbags on their passenger sides.  

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the expansion of the recall is “a major step forward for public safety.” 

“The Department of Transportation is taking the proactive steps necessary to ensure that defective inflators are replaced with safe ones as quickly as possible, and that the highest risks are addressed first,” he said in a statement. “We will not stop our work until every air bag is replaced.”

The defective Takata airbags were used in cars manufactured by companies including Honda, Lexus and Chrysler.

Accidents involving the defective air bags have been linked to six deaths so far. 

Lawmakers who have criticized the Obama administration’s prior handling of the Takata recalls and other issues with faulty auto parts applauded the expansion of the notifications to drivers on Wednesday. 

“Folks shouldn’t have to drive around wondering if their airbag is going to explode in their face or if their car is going to be on another recall list,” Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said in a statement. “We’ve seen the recall list double now to 30 million cars.  Let’s hope Takata’s admissions today tells us the whole story.”  

Nelson said he was particularly concerned about the impact of the faulty airbags in his native state, which has a very humid atmosphere. 

“But Floridians, especially, have reason to be worried because the evidence is that these airbags explode in more humid climates,” he said. “This needs to get fixed pronto.”

Tags Airbag recall Anthony Foxx National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Takata

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