By John Dodge


CHICAGO (CBS) — A massive recall of potentially dangerous automobile airbags was drastically expanded on Tuesday and now covers nearly 34 million vehicles.

The airbags’ manufacturer, Takata, has acknowledged a defect in the airbag inflators and has agreed to expand the recall, which includes both driver and passenger devices.

At first, the recall was limited to cars driven in areas with seasonally high humidity. It is now nationwide and affects passenger airbags on about 16 million cars and driver airbags on about 17 million.

The inflators were made with a propellant that can degrade over time and has led to ruptures that have been blamed for six deaths worldwide.

“Today is a major step forward for public safety,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “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. We will not stop our work until every air bag is replaced.”

The bag inflators were installed in vehicles manufactured by BMW, Chrysler, Daimler Trucks, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota.

The Department has established a new website, www.SaferCar.gov/RecallsSpotlight, to provide regular updates on the status of this and other recalls and of NHTSA’s investigation.

To see if your vehicle is subject of the recall, click on this link and enter your VIN.

It may take several days for the latest vehicles to be added to the system, so check back periodically.