The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced that approximately 90 percent of vehicles with defective Takata air bags remain unrepaired.
Nearly 17 million vehicles with faulty Takata air bags have been recalled since 2008 and only 2 million of those have been repaired as of December 31, according to NHTSA spokesman Gordon Trowbridge.
The defective air bag inflators can rupture during a collision, thus spewing shrapnel at those inside the vehicle.
"This is an effort to inform consumers," Trowbridge said during a conference call with the media, according to Edmunds. "Please remind your readers that they can use the VIN search on safercar.gov. Please encourage them to watch the mail. If they receive that (recall) notice, make an immediate appointment to have the vehicle repaired."
NHTSA pleaded again this week that owners of select vehicles made by BMW, FCA US (formerly Chrysler Group), Ford, GM, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota to get their air bags replaced as soon as possible to make sure their vehicles are safe.
Takata was hit with a $14,000-per-day fine on Friday by federal safety regulators for failing to cooperate with a probe of the defective air bags.
U.S. Senators from all over the country are urging Takata to aid safety regulators.
"A large number of vehicles with dangerous safety issues from defective Takata airbags have been recalled," U.S. Senators John Thune and Bill Nelson said in a joint statement on Friday. "We cannot tolerate delays or limited cooperation when people's lives are at stake. Takata must immediately do everything possible to aid federal safety regulators and automakers in determining what is wrong and what needs to be done to expeditiously replace airbags that could cause serious injury or the loss of life."
Trowbridge offered some advice to consumers who are waiting for a recall notice before getting their vehicle fixed.
"While disabling a defective airbag is not illegal, no one should ever ride in a passenger seat with a disabled airbag," he said. "You should never disable a driver's-side airbag."
If you are waiting for your notice we recommend you at least reach out to your local dealer so you know what to do once parts become available for your car.