Department of Transportation Accelerating Replacements of Takata Air Bag Inflators

The department hopes to make replacement air bags available more quickly

Department of Transportation Accelerating Replacements of Takata Air Bag Inflators
Image: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
December 12, 2016

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued an amended order further accelerating recall repairs for millions of vehicle owners in the U.S. who have been affected by the Takata air bag inflator recalls.

The order puts requirements into place regarding when auto manufacturers have to have replacement parts available for customers. It also sets deadlines for progress and completion of replacing the defective parts, which to date have been responsible for at least 11 deaths and roughly 180 injuries in the U.S.

"The Department of Transportation is maintaining its aggressive oversight of the efforts to recall Takata air bags as quickly as possible," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "The amended order will speed up the availability of replacement air bags, and continues to prioritize the highest risk vehicles to protect the traveling public."

The order, which was issued to Takata as well as to the 19 affected carmakers, requires that replacement parts be obtained on an accelerated basis and be made available first to the vehicles most at risk. It also puts new requirements into place for vehicle manufacturers to certify to NHTSA when they have gotten enough replacement parts that they can begin repairing affected vehicles, and it requires them to coordinate communications with consumers using best practices that have been identified by NHTSA, the auto-manufacturing industry, the Independent Monitor of Takata, and the Coordinated Remedy Program.

"NHTSA is doing everything possible to make sure that there are no more preventable injuries or deaths because of these dangerous air bag inflators," said NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind. "All vehicle owners should regularly check their vehicles for recalls at SaferCar.gov and go get them fixed at no cost as soon as replacement parts are available."

At this time, there are 46 million recalled Takata inflators present in 29 million vehicles in the U.S. Under the terms of an order issued to Takata in May, carmakers will have to recall more inflators over the next three years, which will ultimately affect between 64 and 69 million inflators in 42 million total recalled vehicles. All frontal Takata inflators that use a compound called non-desiccated phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate will be eventually recalled. The full list of vehicles that are currently affected or will be affected by future Takata recalls can be found here.

NHTSA is committed to achieving a 100 percent recall completion rate from the carmakers in order to protect people on the road. As of December 2, manufacturers reported that roughly 12.5 million inflators have been repaired so far.

This is the biggest and most complicated safety recall in the history of the U.S.