NHTSA Looks To Accelerate Repairs For Takata Recalls

On October 22, 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) held a public information meeting on the recalls of Takata air bag inflators and the Coordinated Remedy Program Proceeding. During the meeting, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind and representatives from NHTSA’s Vehicle Safety Division updated the public on the safety risks associated with certain Takata air bag inflators, steps the federal government and the auto industry are taking to address those risks, challenges to repairing vehicles quickly and measures the public can take to protect themselves.

“(The recall) is the largest, most complex consumer safety action in our nation’s history,” said Rosekind.

The faulty air bags affect 19 million vehicles by 12 manufacturers. There are remedy programs set up for each manufacturer. Due to the size of the recall, NHTSA is looking at accelerating each vehicle manufacturer’s remedy program.

If an accelerated remedy is necessary, there are several actions the agency could take. Manufacturers could speed up recall processes for high-priority vehicles, those older vehicles in high-humidity areas. The supplier pool for replacement parts could be widened, as well as more repairers added. Currently only dealers authorized by the manufacturer can provide repairs.

NHTSA is also considering hiring an independent third party to oversee the manufacturers’ remedy programs. Stephen Ridella, director, Office of Vehicle Crash Worthiness Research, also noted that NHTSA may need to expand the recalls in the future to cover even more vehicles.

“The agency is currently looking into the size of these potential recalls, and how such recalls could impact the vehicle manufacturers’ current remedy programs. If the agency determines that more vehicles with Takata inflators need to be recalled to protect public safety, we want to make sure those recalls are conducted in a way that is consistent with our goal of replacing defective inflators as quickly as possible and addressing the highest-risk inflators first,” said Ridella.

A decision on next steps will be announced in November.

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