US: All vehicles with recalled air bags identified
Washington — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Wednesday that 11 auto manufacturers have identified all vehicles with potentially defective Takata air bags, and have posted VIN numbers so that owners can check at safercar.gov to determine if their vehicle has been recalled.
In all, an estimated 34 million vehicles with the problem air bags have been identified in the largest auto safety recall in U.S. history.
“An informed consumer is one of our strongest allies in ensuring recalled vehicles are repaired,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “NHTSA’s VIN search tool at safercar.gov makes it easy for consumers to check if their vehicle is affected by the recall, and to take action in getting the air bags replaced.”
Last month Takata announced it was declaring 33.8 million vehicles defective that are linked to now seven deaths and more than 100 injuries. The propellant can explode with excessive force and throw shrapnel from the inflator.
“As this recall progresses, NHTSA will organize and prioritize the replacement of the defective air bag inflators to ensure that defective inflators are replaced with safe ones as quickly as possible,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind
Automakers had until mid-July to input all VIN numbers.
NHTSA has created a new website, www.SaferCar.gov/RecallsSpotlight, to provide regular updates on the status of this and other recalls of high interest.
Also The Senate Commerce Committee next week will hold a new hearing on the record-setting recall of 33.8 million vehicles by 11 automakers with potentially defective Takata air bags.
In a notice sent to Senate offices late Tuesday, the Senate Commerce Committee said it will hold a June 23 hearing.
The hearing’s witnesses are expected to include officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General, Takata and unnamed automakers.
It comes as NHTSA says it is taking charge of the Takata recalls by using for the first time authority it received from Congress in 2000. Last week, a seventh death was confirmed by Honda Motor Co. linked to a defective Takata air bag rupturing and sending deadly fragments flying.
Honda and Toyota Motor Corp. announced this week they are each recalling more than 1 million vehicles.
NHTSA is bracing for what are expected to be scathing reports into the General Motors recall from the inspector general and Government Accountability Office. The Inpector General’s report into NHTSA’s failure to detect GM’s delayed recall of 2.6 million vehicles linked to 114 deaths and more than 200 injuries is expected by the end of this month.
The Department of Transportation’s probe “raises more questions” for Senate investigators about NHTSA’s effectiveness in addressing safety defects — including the probe of defective airbags, the aide said.
The hearing is the second from Congress in the last month following a House hearing last month. It is the first major Senate hearing on auto safety since Republicans took control of the upper body in January.
The committee’s chairman, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said in a Detroit News interview last week he is considering legislative proposals to reform NHTSA, but said he is still not convinced the auto safety agency needs more funding.
Thune said “the White House has not been very visible” on the NHTSA request for more funding.
In an interview Tuesday, Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he hasn’t made any decisions about whether he will propose auto safety legislation. He backed an amendment to the House Transportation budget last week that would add $4 million to NHTSA’s budget.
“We want to make sure that (NHTSA) is able to deliver,” Upton said.