US agency speeds up recalls
The US government’s road safety agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is urging car manufacturers to speed up replacement of potentially dangerous Takata airbag inflators.
Heidi King, director of the NHTSA, met with 19 affected companies urging them to accelerate the recalls and to post recall plans on their websites, according to a statement released by the NHTSA. The statement didn’t say if car manufacturers agreed to the request.
Car manufacturers have already missed the December 31 deadline to replace 100 per cent of the oldest and most dangerous inflators.
NHTSA also claims that they have been slow to complete the recalls, which began more than 15 years ago. But car manufacturers say it’s difficult to get people to take their cars in for repairs, especially with older models.
Affected Takata airbag inflators can explode with too much force and hurl shrapnel into drivers and passengers. At least 23 people have been killed and around 300 injured worldwide.
The inflators have resulted in the largest series of car recalls worldwide.
“It’s imperative that manufacturers take every available step to reach each and every owner of a vehicle with deadly airbags and take action to ensure that those dangerous airbags are replaced as soon as is safely possible," said King in the statement.
But Jason Levine, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, said King has placed the burden on consumers rather than using the agency’s authority to make car manufacturers comply.
“Today, we see yet again this administration’s inability to protect consumers as this announcement does nothing to make more readily available the replacement airbags that tens of millions of Americans are waiting on and deserve,” said Levine to US news outlet, Claims Journal.