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Legislators Join Public Outcry for More Takata Recalls

Paige Tears-Gladstone8 months ago

Senators and the public have called out for more widespread Takata recalls in the wake of the death of Joel Knight.

Desire for More Widespread Takata Recalls

According to ABC News, Knight died in an otherwise survivable collision with a cow after his air bag exploded and shot shrapnel into his neck. His vehicle was one of many that have yet to be recalled but was still at risk, according to current theories, due to exposure to humidity and age.

The government has demanded that Takata phase out inflators using ammonium nitrate by 2018, but many worry that the current piecemeal recall approach to this ongoing issue is ineffective. However, a full recall would not be sufficient to fix the problem either as replacements cannot be manufactured swiftly enough.

In fact, only 5 million inflators have been replaced within the U.S., due to the shortage and a lack of public response. As is often an issue even in serious recalls, people simply don’t come in.

Connecticut and Massachusetts senators have sent letters to the NHTSA this month asking them to recall all Takata inflators and for the company to publish all the makes and models containing Takata air bags. Experts say as many as 50 million Takata air bag inflators could be in cars which have yet to be recalled, but discovering if your vehicle is at risk can be difficult as drivers must either get the automaker to tell them or convince their dealer to take apart the car and look.

Fiat Chrysler, Mazda, Mercedes, and BMW will tell if asked, but GM and Ford will not. Nissan and Toyota will not even say if they would disclose a Takata inflator.

Overview of the Takata’s Recalls

Takata first announced the air bag fault to the public in April of 2013, stating that the defects had arisen as a result of mishandled and improperly stored propellant chemicals. Initial recalls were limited to humid areas until the November 2014 air bag failure of a 2007 Ford Mustang in North Carolina prompted the NHTSA to issue a nationwide recall.

These recalls are the result of defective inflator and propellant devices which can improperly deploy in a crash and can cause a shrapnel of metal fragments to be catapulted into vehicle occupants. At least nine deaths in the United States have been linked to the faulty inflators, with all but one incident involving a Honda model.

In January 2015 an independent review board led by former U.S. transportation secretary Samuel K. Skinner was formed to look into Takata’s manufacturing process and make recommendations. Internal Takata employee communications came to light in November of 2015 that showed the company was aware of inflator issues as far back as 2000 and had been manipulating their data.

In November, after being made aware of the misrepresented and altered test data, Honda declared they would cease use of any air bag components produced by Takata. They were swiftly joined in this decision by Toyota, Mazda, Honda, and Ford. That month the NHTSA also issued Takata a record civil penalty of at least $70 million, but could be responsible for as much as $200 million if further violations are discovered.

They also banned Takata air bag inflators that utilized ammonium nitrate


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