(Washington, DC) – In the wake of another recent potential death linked to Takata’s exploding airbags, U.S. Senators Bill Nelson (D-Fl.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) today wrote to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator Mark Rosekind to ask for a comprehensive update on NHTSA’s oversight of recalls and voluntary service campaigns associated with the Takata airbag defect.
"We trust that you agree it is imperative that these dangerous and deadly airbags be taken off the roads and repaired as quickly as possible,” the Senators wrote. Specifically, the Senators requested that NHTSA consider using its authority to compel Takata and car manufacturers to work with additional airbag manufacturers to speed up the availability of replacement parts. “With more than 12 million impacted vehicles in the United States, it will take over two years to repair all of them. NHTSA has authority to compel Takata to share information with other airbag manufacturers in order to expedite the repair process and ensure a sufficient number of replacement parts are available. The American public is counting on NHTSA to do the right thing and use all of the authority at its disposal to prevent more avoidable deaths, injuries, and damages.”
In addition to requesting data on total vehicles repaired and information on speeding up replacement parts, the Senators urged NHTSA to conduct its own independent testing of Takata airbags. “This is a classic example of the fox guarding the henhouse, and it should be remedied immediately. Takata, and the vehicle manufacturers, have a very obvious pecuniary interest in the outcome of the testing and investigation,” the letter states. “Furthermore, millions of Americans are currently waiting on replacement inflators – and need to know that the new parts are safe and fix the problem. That assurance can only be given if NHTSA or other independent parties can test defective inflators, as well as the new replacements, and verify that they actually fix this very serious defect.”
Full text of the Senators’ letter to Takata is below, and as a PDF here: