Washington – The U.S. Department of Transportation has just announced it will urge the substitution of Takata airbags inflators. The bags have turned out to be defective and have hurt at least 184 people, according to the U.S. Department representatives at a press conference held on Friday.

After those nearly fatal cases have happened, the U.S. has decided to order the Takata Corp (7312.T) the largest recall to date, that the industry or the nation has faced. On the conference and among journalists from several media outlets, the department said this recall will involve 42 million U.S. vehicles and between 64 million and 69 million airbag inflators in the United States alone.

Takata airbags inflators have turned out to be defective and have hurt at least 184 people. Photo credit: Above The Law
Takata airbags inflators have turned out to be defective and have hurt at least 184 people. Photo credit: Above The Law

The Amended Coordinated Remedy Order its the official name for the document that sets requirements for when automakers must have replacement parts available for customers and sets progress and completion deadlines for the changing of the defective parts.

“The Department of Transportation is maintaining its aggressive oversight of the efforts to recall Takata air bags as quickly as possible. 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.” said Anthony Foxx the Transportation Secretary during the event.

All the information needed for the recall is available

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is part of the Transportation Department, released on its website the specific vehicle types involved in the recall. Under the Amended Consent Order issued to Takata, some of the cars participating in the bag recall are Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Ferrari, Dodge, among many others that can be checked out in full on the NHTSA website.

It is also declared that the vehicle recalling could happen on either the driver-side or the passenger-side frontal air bag inflator, or possibly for both. The Takata recalls currently cover frontal inflators that do not include a chemical desiccant that absorbs moisture.

Tens of millions of vehicles are already under recall, and millions more will be added in the next few years. So far, around 12.5 million out of those airbag inflators have already been replaced. Under the Coordinated Remedy Program, NHTSA has committed to seeking a 100 percent recall completion rate from the vehicle manufacturers to protect the motoring public.

The automakers that use desiccated inflators would be required to research their safety. If they do not present proof that the inflators are in fact safe, they will also be a subject of the recall. Takata is required to prove the safety of all inflators by the ending of 2019.

The order also sets new requirements for the automakers very clearly, to certify to NHTSA when they have obtained a sufficient supply of replacement parts to begin the repairs. It also urges companies to coordinate consumer messaging using best practices identified by NHTSA.

A well studied and given response to the matter

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a series of deadlines based on the age of the vehicle, which is a determining factor regarding the risk of the airbag to explode, along with the temperature. Older cars in hot and humid environments are most likely to fall into a problem. The investigation did not stop there as NHTSA and its independent expert reviewed the findings of three independent research organizations into the Takata airbag ruptures.

Results of those investigative works revealed the cause for the bags functioning wrong. It’s a blending of time, environmental moisture, and cycling high temperatures contributing to the degradation of the ammonium nitrate propellant in the inflators. Such degradation makes the propellant burn quickly, therefore destroying the inflator module.

“NHTSA’s efforts to accelerate the Coordinated Remedy Program and target a 100 percent recall completion rate. Takata has dramatically ramped up production and capacity of airbag replacement kits.” said Jared Levy Takata´s official spokesperson for the issue.

According to the current schedule, some airbag replacements would not be happening until September 2020.

To help up with the problem in other degrees, NHTSA is working to raise awareness in the consumer of the recalls and encourage vehicle owners with open recalls to do something. The Agency launched a campaign deemed as The Safe Cars, Safe Lives campaign back in January. They also conducted a five-state, ten-city bus tour, areas with the highest risk for Takata airbag ruptures, to find vehicle owners with open recalls and spread the word about SaferCar.gov VIN lookup tool.

In the United States alone, 11 deaths have been caused by Takata air bags rupturing and breaking out into metal pieces inside vehicles. Globally, the number reaches to around 16 deaths and 100 million Takata air bag inflators have been ordered to be withdrawn with this process. The NHTSA classified the Honda Motor and Acura vehicles as high risk since eleven deaths happened inside of their models.

Source: Fortune