Regulators Holding Yet Another Takata Airbag Meeting, Could Finally Coordinate The Messy Recall

takata logoBack in June, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was considering options to speed up replacement of defective shrapnel-shooting Takata-produced airbags linked to eight deaths and hundreds of injuries. Today, the agency announced it will hold yet another public meeting next month, a move that signals the agency’s latest step in taking control of the massive recall effort.

Reuters reports that the Oct. 22 meeting could prompt regulators to take a stronger stance in efforts to eliminate the deadly defect from approximately 19 million vehicles.

NHTSA, which is expected to publish notice of the meeting in the Federal Register this week, says the proceedings will include presentations by regulators, vehicle manufacturers, airbag inflator suppliers and organizations involved in testing the safety devices.

“NHTSA may issue one or more administrative orders that would coordinate remedy programs,” the agency said of the meeting.

Regulators could use the meeting as a starting point to accelerate or prioritize a program to ensure that affected vehicles receive new inflators, Reuters reports.

The meeting, regulators say, can also serve as a reminder to consumers that they need to have their Takata airbag-equipped vehicles fixed.

“Helping the public understand the risks involved, what NHTSA and the auto industry are doing to address them, and how affected vehicle owners can take action to protect themselves and their families is an essential element,” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said in a statement.

Takata told NHTSA in August that it would soon launch a recall notification campaign to ensure owners of affected vehicles are aware of the massive recall.

That campaign was to include a dedicated website (which doesn’t appear to be live) and ads on major websites and newspapers, first focusing on areas of high humidity where airbags are thought to be at more risk for unexpectedly forceful deployments, including Florida, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi.

The remedy efforts came three months after the Japanese parts maker caved to regulator pressure and recalled more than 30 million cars, while NHTSA, just last week, revised the number to about 19.2 million vehicles.

The revision was based the most recent and accurate information provided by the 11 affected automakers, regulators said at the time.

U.S. auto regulators set Oct. 22 public meeting on Takata recall [Reuters]

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