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Nationwide Air Bag Recall Not Needed, Takata Exec Says

Takata's quality chief tells lawmakers that its tests show air bag recalls should be limited to regions of high absolute humidity.

The debate over geographic recalls just got hotter after an executive from Japan's Takata Corp. said a national recall of driver's side air bags is not necessary. In testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee Thursday, Takata's quality chief, Hiroshi Shimizu, said "the current focus of the ongoing field actions and recalls should remain the specific regions of high absolute humidity. Our best information supports the view that these regions must be the priority for the replacement of airbags."

Some air bags manufactured by Takata can inflate with too much force, spewing shrapnel into passengers. The problem has been linked to at least five deaths and dozens of injuries. Takata and automakers have issued recalls for the air bags in areas of high absolute humidity, which is a measure of how much water vapor is contained in a given volume of air. Some safety experts and lawmakers have argued that given the mobility of American drivers, geographic recalls are too limited. Safety regulators are demanding that Takata recall driver's air bags nationwide after incidents in California and North Carolina. But Shimizu says tests have not revealed any inflator ruptures outside the high-humidity zones, mainly in the South.


-- NBC's Patrick Rizzo and The Associated Press contributed to this report.