The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has ordered Takata Corp. to preserve all air bag inflators removed in recalls of some 17 million vehicles, saying the potentially deadly parts would be used as evidence in a federal investigation and in private litigation cases. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a written statement:
This department is focused on protecting the American public from these defective air bags and at getting to the bottom of how they came to be included in millions of vehicles on U.S. roads. This preservation order will help us get the answers we need to accomplish those goals.
The order comes as Takata and automakers face a barrage of lawsuits over the defective airbags, including a number of class action lawsuits. The cases bring both personal injury and economic loss claims against Takata, its affiliated entities and dozens of auto manufacturers that allegedly install and distribute to consumers defective air bags contained in their vehicles. Takata must set aside 10 percent of the recalled inflators and make them available for testing to private Plaintiffs, according to the order. In addition, Plaintiffs and automakers who test the parts must all grant federal regulators access to all testing data.
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