And we begin with that urgent warning for drivers, for families across this country. It involves air bags in millions of cars on the road right now. Are they at risk of exploding? Tonight, they are... See More
And we begin with that urgent warning for drivers, for families across this country. It involves air bags in millions of cars on the road right now. Are they at risk of exploding? Tonight, they are urging nearly 5 million families to be repaired right now because of a defective air bag, sending dangerous materials, shards of metal, flying through the car. Safety advocates says this brings the total to 20 million cars. Tonight here, we ask, is your car one of them? And where were those air bags made? ABC's chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross is here. Good evening. Reporter: Good evening, David. Today's urgent air bag alert is a rare move from the national highway traffic safety administration which some, safety advocates, say is long overdue. It comes after at least four depths. To do their job, air bags have to deploy in a split second, in half of a blink of an eye, propelled by what's called an inflator. The expansion rate is so fast and so quick and violent that it actually expands this metal portion. Reporter: But in the defective air bags, the inflavor actually explodes like an ied, propelling dead ly shrapnel. This is what happened in one case involving a Honda, when 26-year-old Cory of Florida said he was hit in the face and the eye by the air bag shrapnel. This is a very extreme situation. Reporter: Most of the detect give air bags come from one plant in Mexico, owned by a Japanese company. The millions of cars under recall for the potentially faulty air bag inflavors include Toyota, Nissan, mazda, general motors, Ford, Chrysler, BMW and Mitsubishi. Today's alert warned owners to get them repaired immediately, especially those who live in warm weather states with high humidity. What we're finding is that a lot of folks that own vehicles have not received the notification they were supposed to have received. And that's a real issue. Reporter: In a statement posted on its website, Takata says it stands by the quality of its product and is working the investigation. All right, Brian. Another backing development. One of Brian's investigations, he reported on a change this one of the most common types of guardrails on American highways. And we all remember Brian showing us how guardrails are supposed to work. Take a look. You can see this truck barrelling down the road. The guardrails absorbing the impact of the crash. The few have above showing the same thing. But then Brian reporting on a change made, believed to shave some cost on hundreds of thousands of highways across this country. And the allegation is that instead of absorbing the impact, you can see this image. This is what can happen. The guardrail piercing this car. Brian reported on the flurry of laws lawsuit lawsuits. And tonight, a major development here. Reporter: That's right. A jury in Texas found that the company, Trinity industries, had essentially lied to the government about the changes it made to the guardrails, and safetiedy advocates said created a deadfully flaw. The company was ordered to pay $175 million in damages which could reach $1 billion. The company says it will appeal but it ratzs lots of question about these guardrails on haechs in virtually every state of the union. Four states have already said they are going to suspend the use. Four states already. Brian Ross, thank you. And one more developing
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