A new government audit released Wednesday into how the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration handles recalls is anything but glowing.
The audit, released by the U.S. Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General, faults the agency for lack of proper oversight of its recall processes as well as dragging its feet in the Takata airbag recall.
In the report, which you can read in its entirety here, audit investigators say “delayed action to investigate consumer complaints may have delayed the expansion of recalls”.
It further states: “NHTSA’s minimal action to address low Takata recall completion rates and its poor oversight of manufacturers’ reporting on recall risk may have contributed to the slow implementation of these recalls between 2008 and 2015. “
To date, the report cites that 15 fatalities and more than 220 injuries in the United States have been linked to the defective airbags.
NHTSA’s response is included at the end of the report. In the letter, the agency agreed with some but not all of the findings and recommendations and said it’s recently updated and improved many of its processes. The agency also remarked that it’s “concerned that the report may leave the public with misconceptions regarding NHTSA’s oversight of recalls in general, and the Takata recalls in particular.”
NHTSA Urges Automakers To Post Takata Repair Updates
Last week, NHTSA renewed pressure on automakers to accelerate Takata recall efforts. As of March, less than half of the 50 million faulty inflators in roughly 37 million vehicles had been repaired.
U.S. auto regulators are also urging automakers to post their repair updates on their websites.
“To keep consumers safe in their cars and trucks, automakers should learn from their recall experiences to-date and from one another, and innovate broadly and creatively when crafting plans to better engage with consumers and communities to replace every last defective airbag in their vehicles,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King.
High-Risk Areas Continue to Take Priority
Areas with high humidity and hot temps still take priority, as those two ingredients can cause the chemical propellant used in the defective inflators to break down over time. If that happens, the airbags can potentially explode when deployed and send shrapnel into cabins.
In 2017, NHTSA says it launched a geo-targeted campaign in the eight highest risk areas to increase public awareness in those locations about these dangerous airbags. Vehicles in these high-risk regions have been prioritized to get repair parts first. The safety agency is continuing its consumer outreach efforts in high-risk communities.
You can check your car for airbag recalls from the Car Pro USA website by clicking on the link below:
nhtsa Takata Recall