US safety agency orders air bag maker Takata to preserve parts for investigations

U.S. safety regulators are ordering Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. to preserve air bag parts from recalled cars for government investigators and attorneys who are suing the company.

The order issued Wednesday covers air bag inflator mechanisms that can explode with too much force, spewing metal shrapnel into drivers and passengers. At least six people have been killed and 64 others injured from the problem. Automakers have recalled about 17 million cars and trucks, and recovered inflators have been sent to Takata.

The order stops Takata from destroying inflators except when they are tested and requires the company to set aside 10 percent of them for testing by plaintiffs lawyers. Takata also has to come up with a plan for gathering and preserving the inflators.