A U.S. senator said Thursday that more than 65 percent of 46.2 million recalled Takata Corp airbag inflators in the United States have yet to be repaired, reported Reuters. Senator Bill Nelson urged automakers to expedite the process.
Citing information from a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) independent monitor, Senator Nelson said that of 46.2 million inflators recalled since 2015, only 15.8 have been repaired through mid-May. The 8.8 million owners who had received recall notices had been told that no replacement parts were currently available.
According to Reuters, the Takata inflators can explode with excessive force, in turn unleashing metal shrapnel inside cars and trucks. The inflators have been blamed for at least 16 deaths and more than 180 injuries worldwide.
The Takata inflators have been installed in vehicles made by 19 automakers, including Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, Subaru, Mazda, BMW, Ford Motor Co., and Honda Motor Co. The recalls began in 2008 and involve about 100 million inflators worldwide.
Toyota, BMW, Mazda and Subaru reached a $553 settlement with Takata covering owners of almost 16 million vehicles. The automakers agreed to take new steps to inspire owners to get recall repairs completed.
Reuters reports that for more than a year, Takata has been searching for a financial sponsor to front the replacement cost for its inflators. This recall has become the auto industry’s biggest.
“We’re in a desperate need of a leader who will commit to resolving this Takata mess,” Nelson said, noting that the Trump administration has yet to nominate a candidate to lead the NHTSA.
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