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From Products Liability Law Daily, December 23, 2015

NHTSA provides updated information on Takata airbag inflator recalls

By John Dumoulin

In an update to the “Recalls Spotlight” portion of its website, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has included additional details regarding the recalls of defective Takata airbag inflators. The update includes information on the pace of repairs, the appointment of an independent monitor, revised recalls by three automakers, and an additional death the agency said was probably caused by rupture of a Takata air bag inflator (NHTSA Recalls SpotlightDecember 23, 2015).

Pace of repairs. NHTSA said “the pace of recall completion is accelerating rapidly for vehicles with defective Takata air bags.” The agency said that in the two-week period ending December 4, 2015, just over 950,000 vehicles have been repaired.

Independent monitor. NHTSA has chosen John D. Buretta, a partner at the law firm Cravath, Swain & Moore and former Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice Criminal Division, to serve as the independent monitor for the Takata recalls. According to NHTSA, Buretta will assist the agency in providing important oversight of both the coordinated remedy program and of Takata’s compliance with consent orders.

Revised recalls. NHTSA’s update said that three automakers—Mazda, Honda, and Subaru—have revised and expanded their Takata passenger inflator recalls to include more model years, or additional vehicles and/or inflators from model years affected by existing recalls (including driver air bag recalls). Vehicles affected by the revised passenger recalls are model year 2005-2008 Mazda Mazda6, model year 2002-2004 Honda CR-V, and model year 2005-2008 Subaru Legacy and Outback. The update contains a link to an updated list of makes, models, and model years affected by the Takata inflator recalls.

NHTSA said these expansions are due to ballistic testing Takata has conducted in recent months. The agency is urging consumers to check their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for open recalls and to contact their local dealer to schedule repairs.

Additional death. NHTSA has announced the eighth U.S. fatality likely caused by a rupture of a Takata air bag inflator, and the ninth worldwide. Although yet to be confirmed by the manufacturer, NHTSA said the incident involved a model year 2001 vehicle that spent most of it service life in the high absolute humidity region and had been under recall for many years. The fatality was the result of a driver air bag rupture, as has been the case for all known fatalities, according to NHTSA.

Companies: TK Holdings Inc.

MainStory: TopStory MotorVehiclesNews MotorEquipmentNews

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