Blumenthal and Markey Urge Obama to Recall Defective Takata Airbags

Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) and Edward J. Markey (D Massachusetts) urged President Obama to recall every vehicle with airbags using ammonium nitrate as their propellant, and to use “every tool at his disposal” to accelerate the repair of all vehicles with potentially-lethal Takata airbags.


The renewed calls for action follow the December death of Joel Knight in South Carolina, who was killed when his truck struck a stray cow.

As reported by the New York Times, instead of cushioning the impact from the wreck, the airbag ruptured, firing shrapnel into Knight’s neck and killing him.

“It appears that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has consistently deferred to Takata as it set forth its requirements to industry, first by allowing many automakers to take voluntary rather than mandatory actions to alert vehicle-owners to this defect’s existence, then by limiting the recalls to cars registered in ‘high humidity’ states absent evidence that the defect would not manifest itself outside these arbitrary boundaries, and now with its apparent policy of waiting until someone has died in a particular make and model before recalling that make and model,” Blumenthal and Markey wrote.  “This, coupled with NHTSA’s willingness to allow Takata to take until the end of 2018 to prove that ammonium nitrate is safe in existing airbags —  and until 2019 to show that the latest models of the inflators that use the compound are safe — is an outrageous dereliction of NHTSA’s basic duty to protect consumers.”

The Senators first expressed concerns with NHTSA’s limited recalls and testing of Takata airbags in October 2014  first called on Takata to recall all vehicles with ammonium nitrate-based airbags in August 2015, and subsequently also expressed serious concern about the pace of Takata recalls and repairs.


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