WASHINGTON — The Takata airbag recalls should be expanded to include all parts made through 2011, said the Center for Auto Safety in a Thursday letter to the deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Center for Auto Safety is a watchdog group.
"The Center calls on NHTSA to expand the (defect) investigation to all Takata modules through 2011 and to invoke its authority to make all records related to Takata investigations and recalls public," said the letter, which was signed by Clarence M. Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety.
The recalls basically cover modules installed in 2002 through 2006.
The letter also questioned whether replacement airbags provided by Takata are safe.
"How does the agency know Takata airbags being used in recalls and service campaigns are safe?" it said.
The Center for Auto Safety referred to a fatal crash in Orlando, Florida on September 29, 2014 involving a 2001 Honda Accord that it said should have been repaired under a 2011 recall.
The driver suffered deep cuts on her neck that weren't considered to be consistent with crash injuries, according to media reports.
The defective Takata airbags may explode metal pieces at vehicle occupants, leading to severe injuries. The potentially defective airbags have been linked to as many as four deaths.
The Takata recalls cover 7.8 million vehicles in the U.S. by 10 automakers.
NHTSA on Thursday ordered Takata to provide documents and answer questions related to the ongoing investigation of potentially defective airbags. Federal safety regulators set a December 1 deadline for delivery of the documents.
In the meantime, NHTSA is urging owners of vehicles involved in the Takata recall to take immediate action. Concerned consumers can call the NHTSA hotline at 1-888-327-4236.
Edmunds says: Questions over whether Takata replacement parts are safe add to consumer confusion, with few answers at this point.