Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey has demanded that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issue a mandatory recall of all Takata airbags. The company has made recent headlines for recalling around 34 million airbags, which have a defect that causes them to explode. The problem was believed to only affect older model vehicles, but new evidence suggests that some of Takata’s newest airbags may suffer from the same defect.
What Is The Defect?
The airbags apparently have a defect that causes them to explode when exposed to humid conditions. The humid conditions cause the explosives in the airbag’s canister to break down, which makes them unstable. When the canisters explode unexpectedly, they send metal shrapnel flying throughout the inside of the car. The exploding canisters have led to at least 5 deaths, hundreds of injuries, and many lawsuits.
Why Is Ed Markey Speaking Out?
Senator Markey questioned the new head of the NHTSA about a recall of all Takata airbags because of the high number of Massachusetts and other New England residents who make the long and humid trip down to Florida for the winter. The Senator said that many of the “snowbirds” are at a higher risk because they bought their cars here in the Northeast, where it is usually much less humid, but will spend up to 6 months in the Southeast, where it is humid year round. Markey believes it is unacceptable that Takata should be allowed to selectively recall its products when the NHTSA knows about the dangers that they pose.
Watch Senator Markey questioning the NHTSA here and read more about the expanded Takata airbag recall here.