The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says that vehicles in the United States still contain some 23.4 million defective Takata Corp. airbag inflators. The agency is considering implementing a coordinated remedy program to replace all defective airbag inflators in the U.S. While NHTSA’s latest projection of defective Takata airbag inflators is lower than the 30 million it had previously estimated, this is still a huge problem. The new figure, according to NHTSA, is based on responses from automakers. NHTSA is also considering implementing a coordinated remedy program to ensure that all the defective Takata airbags are replaced.
The faulty airbags have been installed in vehicles manufactured by nearly a dozen different automakers including Toyota Motor Co., American Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. NHTSA had this to say:
NHTSA is continuing its investigation into possible violations of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act involving defective Takata inflators. Investigating potential violations of law, and holding manufacturers accountable for such violations, is an essential tool in NHTSA’s mission to protect American consumers from defective products. If NHTSA determines there are violations of the Safety Act, the agency will use its enforcement tools to ensure accountability.
NHTSA said also that its tests of Takata inflators showed results that were “broadly consistent” with Takata’s own findings. The agency did not elaborate in detail on what those findings were. It did refer to Takata’s data on “risk associated with vehicles from high-humidity geographic areas.” The driver-side and the passenger-side air bags in some 4 million U.S. vehicles contain defective inflators, according to NHTSA. Takata formally declared in May that many of its air bags were defective as part of a consent order with the U.S. Department of Transportation. That resulted in an expansion of the recall of the products to 34 million automobiles, making it the largest recall ever of its kind.
At the time, Takata submitted four defect reports that nearly doubled the size of the original recall, to include a total of 11 automakers that used the Japanese company’s passenger- and driver-side front air bags. The faulty air bags – which can apparently be damaged by humidity and rupture and shoot metal shards into the passenger cabin – have been linked to at least eight deaths so far. NHTSA had estimated at the time that since 2008, automakers had already recalled 17 million vehicles with the defective Takata air bags through more than 30 recall campaigns. Japanese automakers Toyota and Nissan announced in June that they would recall 3 million more vehicles around the world that contain Takata inflators.
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