It was announced on May 19, that more Takata airbags are being recalled due to safety issues regarding the degradation of propellant within the airbag over time, totalling more than 33.8 million affected vehicles.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has also announced that not only has Takata acknowledge the defects exists, but has also agreed to a national recall of certain types of driver and passenger side air bag inflators.
USDOT Secretary Anthony Foxx said that the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a consent order to Takata requiring the company to cooperate with all actions the NHTSA takes during the investigation and oversight of Takata.
“Today is a major step forward for public safety,” Secretary Foxx said. “The Department of Transportation is taking the proactive steps necessary to ensure that defective inflators are replaced with safe ones as quickly as possible, and that the highest risks are addressed first. We will not stop our work until every air bag is replaced.”
Vehicles at a greater risk, such as older cars or cars in certain geographic locations, will be serviced first.
“From the very beginning, our goal has been simple: a safe air bag in every vehicle,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “The steps we’re taking today represent significant progress toward that goal. We all know that there is more work to do, for NHTSA, for the auto makers, for parts suppliers, and for consumers. But we are determined to get to our goal as rapidly as possible.”
While there’s still no root cause for the malfunctions, Takata, auto manufacturers and independent researchers are still searching for the source of the issues.
According to reports from independent organizations, the NHTSA believes moisture is infiltrating the airbag inflators as the cars age. The excess moisture causes the propellant to ignite too quickly, increasing pressure within the inflator. The pressure ruptures the inflator and can possibly send metal shards flying into the passenger compartment, leading to injury or death.
Vehicle owners can look up whether or not their vehicle has recalls issued for it at https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/. While some recalls are vital, such as airbag safety, others can be inconsequential, such as a recall for a steering wheel that prematurely wears on ’95 Toyota MR2s.
Consumers can visit the newly created governmental website, www.safercar.gov/RecallsSpotlight/, to obtain updates and information about this and other recalls.
The USDOT has also created a spot just for information about the Takata Airbags at www.safercar.gov/rs/takata/index.html