Senators Want Nationwide Takata Airbag RecallNovember 27, 2014
Members of the U.S. Senate have called on automakers to issue a nationwide Takata airbag recall on vehicles carrying the defective part. A Senate panel convened to investigate the delays associated with the Takata airbag recall, which may have contributed to five fatalities related to the exploding airbag system. The panel openly criticized the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency recently approved a limited recall that only covers vehicles registered to owners in Southern states with humid climates.
Safety Issues Spur Takata Airbag Recall
The Takata airbag recall stems from a problem with ammonium nitrate, the chemical used in the airbag deployment process. Reports have shown that the chemical can become highly volatile under humid conditions. Five drivers, including one in Florida and one in Alabama, died when their airbag systems exploded upon deployment. The explosions forced metal and plastic shards into the drivers’ bodies at close range, leading to their fatal injuries. The reports spurred automakers to seek a Takata airbag recall from the manufacturer.
Takata Airbag Recall Affects Millions
With nearly every major manufacturer carrying their airbags, the Takata airbag recall may go on to be one of the largest auto safety recalls on record. German automaker BMW currently has over 627,000 vehicles carrying Takata airbags. The Takata airbag recall affects a combined 430,000 vehicles from American manufacturers Ford and Chrysler, but GM has yet to disclose their estimates. Japanese manufacturers were hit hardest of all, with Honda’s estimated 5 million vehicles totaling more than Mazda, Mistubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota combined.
Calls for Expanded Takata Airbag Recall
Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) have called on the NHTSA to expand the Takata airbag recall nationwide. The senators point out the fact that drivers from warmer states can drive their cars to cooler climates, and vice versa. A recent report of a driver in North Carolina, a state not on the Takata airbag recall list, was injured when his airbag exploded, prompted observers to call for a nationwide alert.
Automakers Cooperate With Takata Airbag Recall
The Senate panel also took issue with the automakers themselves as they investigated the Takata airbag recall. The panel called on automakers to cooperate in the nationwide Takata airbag recall efforts. A representative with BMW stated that the German automaker will participate in the nationwide recall. Representatives from Chrysler, Ford, Honda, and Mazda said that their respective companies would evaluate a nationwide recall plan, but did not give a timetable to implement their efforts.
Source: The Car Connection
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