Lawmakers Call for Immediate Nationwide Safety Recall on Vehicles With Takata Airbags | Edmunds

Lawmakers Call for Immediate Nationwide Safety Recall on Vehicles With Takata Airbags


For more information on the Takata airbag recall, click here.

Just the Facts:
  • Senators Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Edward Markey of Massachusetts are calling for an immediate nationwide recall of vehicles equipped with defective Takata airbags instead of limiting the recall to southern states with high humidity.
  • The two Democrats sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Thursday saying they are "alarmed by the confusing and conflicting advice being issued by" the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  • As of Friday morning, the Vehicle Identification Number or VIN look-up portion of the NHTSA Web site appeared to be working.

WASHINGTON — Senators Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Edward Markey of Massachusetts are calling for an immediate nationwide recall of vehicles equipped with defective Takata airbags instead of limiting the recall to southern states with high humidity.

The two Democrats sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Thursday saying they are "alarmed by the confusing and conflicting advice being issued by" the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Foxx was urged to "strongly encourage" manufacturers to provide rental cars at no cost to consumers if their cars cannot be fixed immediately because of insufficient replacement parts.

"We are sure you agree that the first priority for both NHTSA and the manufacturers of cars with defective Takata airbags must be to protect the safety of all drivers and their families," the letter said. "We have become increasingly troubled and alarmed by the confusing and conflicting advice being issued by NHTSA and the glacial pace of the agency's response to this public safety threat."

Some 7.8 million U.S. vehicles have been recalled since 2013 for defective Takata airbags that may explode metal pieces at vehicle occupants, leading to severe injuries.

Federal safety regulators came under fire this week after directing millions of consumers to an inoperable Web site and giving inaccurate information about which cars were recalled. David Friedman, NHTSA's deputy administrator, apologized for the problems and said there were "significant problems" with the Web site.

As of Friday morning, the Vehicle Identification Number or VIN look-up portion of the NHTSA Web site appeared to be working. But other parts of the Web site were working intermittently. Friedman said earlier that the problems may be linked to a recent software change.

Blumenthal and Markey said they are "concerned by the absence of clear guidance from NHTSA on how and when to get vehicles fixed and what to do in the meantime.

The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee asked for a briefing about the Takata recalls.

"Recalls continue to mount across the country, and drivers are losing confidence," said Committee Chairman Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican, in a statement on his Web site.

He added: "The first priority must be to ensure that all cars on the road are safe, and I urge drivers to heed NHTSA's warnings and act immediately to get their vehicles fixed."

Edmunds says: The best advice for consumers at this point is to stay in touch with your dealer and get your vehicle fixed if it's part of the Takata recall.

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