Senators urge regulators to ID vehicles with possible faulty Takata air bags
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two U.S. Senators urged auto safety regulators to publicly name the makes and models of tens of millions of vehicles with potentially faulty Takata air bag inflators, according to a letter made public late on Thursday.
"There may still be 50 million airbags installed in vehicles whose owners not only have no idea, but also no way to find out, that they are driving a car containing potentially lethal airbags," wrote Senators Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat and Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat.
On Wednesday, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed the Japanese air bag manufacturer would declare between 35 million and 40 million additional inflators defective by 2019, which will prompt automakers to recall vehicles with the inflators.
The 50 million inflators that could still be recalled include 27 million side air bags and 23 million frontal air bag inflators. As part of a November agreement with NHTSA, those vehicles must also be recalled by 2019 unless Takata can prove they are safe.
Takata must issue five separate defect reports starting May 16 and ending in 2019. Takata said the first report will cover 14 million of the 35 million to 40 million inflators being recalled. The second report is not due until Dec. 31 and subsequent reports are due in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
NHTSA spokesman Bryan Thomas said automakers "will provide the information about the models and makes in the coming weeks." He did not directly respond to the senators demands on the inflators that have not yet been recalled.
Takata spokesman Jared Levy declined to comment.
The senators want NHTSA to release regular updates regarding testing data on Takata airbags and their failure rates. Continued...