Senators Call For Recall Of All Vehicles With Takata Airbags

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Because it could take some time for federal investigators to determine the cause of a ruptured Takata airbag in a Volkswagen — a carmaker that hadn’t been part of any earlier exploding, shrapnel-shooting airbag recalls — some lawmakers are calling for a recall of all vehicles equipped with airbags made by Takata.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts jointly sent a letter to the auto parts maker today requesting it issue a voluntarily recall of all vehicles with Takata airbags until the underlying cause of the forceful explosions can be determined.

“As new reports surface of explosions in the latest models of Takata airbags, we write to express our deep concern over the obfuscation and delay that your company has engaged in while searching for a root cause of these defects,” the senators wrote. “In light of the most recent incident, which did not occur in one of the regions originally designated as ‘high humidity,’ and which involved a 2015 vehicle not currently subject to recall, we urge you to voluntarily recall all vehicles containing Takata airbags.”

The senators push for the wide-ranging recall comes days after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced it was investigating a June 2015 rupture of a Takata airbag in a 2015 Volkswagen Tiguan in Missouri.

Volkswagen – which had not been included in the May recall of nearly 33 million vehicles with Takata airbags – notified regulators of the rupture of an airbag inflator on July 15.

NHTSA sent orders to VW and Takata this week requiring the companies to provide all information that could help identify a cause for the June incident, which doesn’t fit the previous pattern of airbag ruptures linked to Takata safety devices.

For the most part, the previous ruptures have often occurred in older vehicles and in areas of high humidity, such as Florida, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi.

In addition to requesting the recall of all vehicles with the company’s airbags, the senators also asked the auto parts maker to release updates on data related to testing of the potentially defective safety devices.

The senators say that the fact that Takata – and regulators – have yet to determine the root cause for the exploding airbags is should be enough evidence that all vehicles with the company’s safety devices should be recalled.

“Takata’s defective airbags have already caused at least eight deaths and more than one-hundred injuries in the United States – numbers that may increase as further cases come to light – and it is essential for your company to do all it can to identify and address the cause of this problem,” the senators tell Takata.

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