Federal safety officials issued a new warning after learning that some defective air bags might be more prone to deadly malfunctions than previously known, according to NBC News.
New tests on older cars with Takata air bags revealed that the inflators were more likely to malfunction and emit shrapnel in hot, humid and damp locations. In lab tests, inflators ruptured 50 percent of the time.
"With this new data, we know how bad it could really be," National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Mark Rosekind said. "Literally, flipping a coin in a crash. You don't know if you could end up having the shrapnel coming at you."
NHTSA officials estimated there are 300,000 older cars with faulty inflators on the road that have not yet been repaired.
"Of the 10 United States lives that have been lost, eight have been in these vehicles," Rosekind said.
Notifications have been sent, but some owners haven't followed up. Honda officials said 70 percent of these vehicles have been repaired.
In a statement sent exclusively to NBC News, Honda said they're trying to reach the other 30 percent by sending letters, calling, texting and taking out ads to notify the remaining owners. They've even hired private investigators.
According to the statement, higher risk inflators are in certain 2001-2003 Honda and Acura vehicles, including:
- 2001-2002 Honda Civic
- 2001-2002 Honda Accord
- 2002-2003 Acura TL
- 2002 Honda CR-V
- 2002 Honda Odyssey
- 2003 Acura CL
- 2003 Honda Pilot
NHTSA officials urged owners to visit www.safercar.gov and enter the VIN see if your car is part of this high risk group. Local Honda dealers will provide a replacement air bag inflator free of charge.