A total of 67 million airbags have been recalled, and at the end of 2022, 11 million were still yet to be replaced.

At the heart of the problem is the airbag’s inflator, a metal cartridge loaded with propellant wafers, which in some cases has ignited with explosive force. If the inflator housing ruptures in a crash, metal shards from the airbag can be sprayed throughout the passenger cabin—a potentially disastrous outcome from a supposedly lifesaving device.

NHTSA has determined the root cause of the problem: airbags that use ammonium-nitrate-based propellant without a chemical drying agent. As postulated early on, environmental moisture, high temperatures, and age as associated with the defect that can improperly inflate the airbags and even send shrapnel into the occupant. To date, there have been 26 deaths and more than 400 injuries because this problem in the U.S.

Through various announcements, the recall has grown to include 67 million airbags from more than 42 million vehicles in the U.S. The recalls have been conducted in waves, prioritized by risk.