Feds call for nationwide Takata airbag recall

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is calling for a nationwide recall on defective airbags manufactured by Japanese auto parts company Takata. 

Takata has previously issued a regional recall of its airbags that limited the scope of its notice to areas of the country where weather conditions are humid, which has been blamed for problems with the parts.  

Interim National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) chief David Friedman said Tuesday evening that the agency is pushing now for the recall to be expanded to cars that have Takata airbags in all areas of the U.S. 

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“We now know that millions of vehicles must be recalled to address defective Takata air bags and our aggressive investigation is far from over,” Friedman said in a statement. “We’re pushing Takata and all affected manufacturers to issue the recall and to ensure the recalls capture the full scope of the problems.”

The defective Takata airbags were used in cars manufactured by companies like Toyota, Lexus and Chrysler.

The recalls of the faulty airbags first began in 2008 and they have grown to include nearly 8 million vehicles, not including the last call from the transportation department. 

The recalls have drawn the attention of lawmakers who are on guard about the highway safety agency’s handling of defective auto parts following widespread recalls at General Motors earlier this year. 

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing about the Takata recalls on Thursday. 

Officials with the committee said the hearing would “examine the circumstances of a series of recalls beginning in 2008 for defective airbags manufactured by Takata. 

“The most recent recalls for Takata airbags now encompass 10 automobile manufacturers and affect 7.8 million vehicles in the United States,” the Senate panel said in a notice about its forthcoming meeting. “The hearing will focus on how defective Takata airbags became installed in so many vehicles and the responses of both automakers and NHTSA to remedy the safety defect to protect consumers.” 

The highway safety agency, which has been operating with a full-time chief for most of the year, has come under fire for its oversight of widespread recalls at General Motors that involved defective ignition switches in more than two million cars. 

Lawmakers took the highway safety agency to task in the spring for its handling of GM’s recall, accusing officials there of failing to notice the trend of accidents involving GM's faulty ignition switch for several years before the recall was issued in February.  

Transportation Secretary Anthony FoxxAnthony Renard FoxxBig Dem names show little interest in Senate Lyft sues New York over new driver minimum pay law Lyft confidentially files for IPO MORE said pre-emptively on Tuesday the highway safety was acting aggressively as it received more information about the Takata’s recalls. 

“By demanding this national recall, NHTSA has demonstrated once again that it will follow data and evidence to protect the lives of Americans on the road and to hold manufacturers accountable,” Foxx said in a statement. 

The highway safety agency has set a Dec. 5 deadline for Takata to respond to its call for an expanded airbag recall.