The US safety regulators have now been awaken in the scenario, with a positive note of recalling a large number of vehicles for defective airbags. The recall estimates of 33.8 million vehicles, which include cars and trucks and is titled as the largest automobile recall in the nation’s history. The recall was issued by the orders of Mark Rosekind, newly appointed Head, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Earlier referred as the lazy, slow dog, NHTSA has proven of its fierceness under its new head, and also shown its bite with the bruise caused on the automobile companies by this recall order. “Having someone who personifies the kind of aggressiveness with which we expect the agency to operate is healthy for external stakeholders as well as our own folks at DOT (Department of Transportation) and NHTSA,” Anthony Foxx, Transportation Secretary NHTSA, said in a statement.
The airbags, manufactured by Takata Corp. are termed as defective by the NHTSA. The issue arises due to a chemical used in the airbags, which makes it prone to explosion if the force on the airbags is very high. Tests by the NHTSA suggest that its explosion is extremely powerful, enough to blow apart the entire metal inflator, causing the shrapnel and other harmful objects to enter the passenger compartment.
Six deaths have been confirmed worldwide, with the injured toll of more than 100 people, due to this major defect.
With Takata Corp. acknowledging the defects, it has agreed for the recall involving 11 automakers, including vehicles which are up to 14 years old. The companies say that they’re nervous with the methodology adopted by Rosekind, to which he bluntly replies, “Just to be very direct, that does mean that some people might have to go back for a second [repair] if we find out that the current remedies need to be enhanced.” He further added, “To save lives and prevent injuries, defects must be repaired.”
Mark Rosekind has now completed 5 months of his tenure as the Head of NHTSA and has already taught hard lessons to the automobile giants, who were previously ignored by them. Just to name a few, he summoned Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. arm to a public hearing for failing in execution of past 20 recalls properly; charged penalties estimating to $700 million; and of course this largest recall in history, involving automakers like Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp.