Takata Airbag Recall Comes Under Senate Scrutiny Next Week | Edmunds

Takata Airbag Recall Comes Under Senate Scrutiny Next Week

WASHINGTON —  The ongoing Takata recall for defective airbags will be the focus of a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on June 23.

"The hearing will examine the role of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the Takata defective airbag recall investigation, Takata's remediation efforts, how car manufacturers are addressing defective Takata airbags and ongoing oversight by the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General," said the committee in a statement on Wednesday.

A witness list has not been posted.

NHTSA on May 19 expanded the Takata airbag recalls to nearly 34 million vehicles. Seven deaths have been linked to defective Takata airbags. All of the fatalities have occurred in Honda vehicles.

This is the second Congressional hearing about the Takata recall crisis in the last month. A House hearing explored the plan for dealing with what has been called the largest motor vehicle safety recall in U.S. history, affecting 13 percent of the cars on the road and spanning 11 automakers.

Legislators at that hearing were clearly concerned about the pace of the recalls and the unanswered questions about the source of the problem.

"Every morning I fear I am playing 'headline roulette' waiting for another rupture, another death," said Michael Burgess (R-MN) during the House hearing.

Burgess also said he was concerned about an "overwhelming sense of recall fatigue" among American consumers.

Toyota and Honda announced more recall expansions this week for defective Takata airbags totaling more than 2 million vehicles combined.

Toyota spokeswoman Cindy Knight on Wednesday told Edmunds: "From the previously recalled vehicle population, we have received at least eight reports of injuries alleged from Takata airbag rupture events in the field, but we haven't confirmed the cause of those injuries."

But Knight said there were no reports of injuries or fatalities in the automaker's latest Takata recall.

The faulty airbags can deploy with too much force, shooting shrapnel and injuring vehicle occupants.

Edmunds says: Consumers should expect an update on the progress of the Takata recalls at next week's hearing.

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