WASHINGTON (CBS13) – Takata airbags are being blamed for 15 deaths and 278 injuries in the United States and its territories.

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) released the statistics Friday.

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The airbags can explode, injuring and killing drivers and passengers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recalled the airbags on roughly 37 million cars. So far, only 58% have been repaired.

  • 15 Deaths in U.S. Due to Takata Airbags
  • 27 Injuries in U.S. Due to Takata Airbags
  • Florida Ranks 1st
  • California Ranks 4th
  • Check safercar.gov

Florida ranks 1st in the number of people killed and injured- 3 and 83 respectively.

California is 4th on the list. Three people have died and another 20 injured from the defective airbags.

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Last week, the NHTSA warned drivers of MY 2006 Ford Rangers and Mazda B-Series vehicles to stop driving their cars until they get their airbags replaced.

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Takata air bags can inflate with too much force, which causes a metal canister to rupture and spew shrapnel into the vehicle. Tokyo-based Takata, unlike other manufacturers, uses the chemical ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion that inflates air bags in a crash. But the chemical can deteriorate when exposed to prolonged high heat and humidity and can burn faster than designed. That can blow apart a metal canister designed to contain the explosion.

The older the inflators are, and the more time they spend in heat and humidity, the more likely they are to malfunction.

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The government urged people to go to safercar.gov and enter their vehicle identification number to see if their car or truck is being recalled.