Government Ups Air Bag Warning to 7.8 Million Vehicles

DETROIT (AP) _ The U.S. government is now urging the owners of nearly 8 million cars and trucks to have the air bags repaired because of a potential hazard. 
 
The government's auto safety agency says inflator mechanisms can rupture when the bags are deployed, causing metal fragments to fly out. 
 
But car owners might have difficulty determining if their vehicle is equipped with the potentially dangerous air bags.
 
Most of the 7.8 million vehicles are subject to existing recalls. But manufacturers have limited the recalls to high-humidity areas — excluding cars and trucks in states to the North.
 
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says motorists who should pay special attention to the warning include those in Florida, Hawaii and “limited areas near the Gulf of Mexico in Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Louisiana.''
 
The agency urged people to use its website to see if their cars are affected. But a feature allowing people to check for recalls by vehicle identification number malfunctioned Monday night, and still wasn't operational today.