Officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are now urging Takata and 10 automakers to extend their recalls of the defective Takata airbags to the national level. The current recall for these defective Takata airbags has been limited to certain humid regions, particularly those surrounding the Gulf of Mexico, as humidity reportedly increases the risks that the defective Takata airbags will malfunction.
However, following a report of similar airbag failure in an area not targeted by the airbag recall, NHTSA officials are now demanding that:
- The recall is extended to be nationwide.
- Takata and the 10 automakers that have used the defective Takata airbags in their vehicles submit detailed reports, under oath, to the NHTSA regarding testing the airbags’ problems in regions outside of the current recall area.
- Takata and the automakers be forthright about what they are doing to mitigate the risks associated with the defective Takata airbags.
If Takata or the automakers fail to comply with the NHTSA’s demands, the NHTSA has stated that it will “use the full extent of its statutory powers to ensure vehicles that use the same or similar airbags are recalled.”
Problems with the Defective Takata Airbags
The reason that the defective Takata airbags are so dangerous is related to the propellant contained in the airbags’ inflators. Specifically, the propellant can cause the airbags to improperly deploy during crashes, possibly even resulting in small pieces of shrapnel-like metal being hurled at the occupants of a vehicle.
According to recent reports, to date, the defective Takata airbags have caused 5 deaths and at least 139 injuries.
In announcing these new NHTSA demands to the public on November 18, 2014, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx stated, “by demanding this national recall, NHTSA has demonstrated once again that it will follow data and evidence to protect the lives of Americans on the road and to hold manufacturers accountable.”
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