(Reuters) – Takata Corp’s defective air bags have been linked to 278 injuries across the United States, according to updated figures released by U.S. Democratic Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, in advance of a hearing next week on the nomination of Heidi King to head the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The air bags have also been linked to 15 deaths, according to the statement from the Senator.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ordered the first recall in 2015, but Nelson said as of March 30 some 16.4 million unrepaired inflators remain in vehicles on the highways.
The defective inflators, which can explode with excessive force and unleash metal shrapnel inside cars and trucks, resulted in the auto industry’s biggest recall and pushed the Japanese company to file for bankruptcy protection in June 2017.
Florida had the highest number of injuries in the United States related to the inflators, according to the statement from Nelson, who heads the Senate committee that oversees the automakers.
Reporting by Arunima Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila