“Air Bag Recalls Trigger New Scrutiny”

Jeff Bennett and Christopher Rogers and Christopher Matthews. “Air Bag Recalls Trigger New Scrutiny.”
The Wall Street Journal. 22 Oct. 2014.

“The Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office is investigating whether air bag supplier Takata Corp. made misleading statements about the safety of its air bags to U.S. regulators, people familiar with the matter said. The probe is at a preliminary stage and could end without any charges filed…

Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, said NHTSA has the power to compel Takata and the car companies to conduct an offical safety recall on all cars equipped with the faulty air bags. “The law requires a safety recall but they’re letting the manufacturers do service campaigns”…

The calls for action accelerated after a third death was blamed by police on an exploding air bag. On Oct. 2, Florida resident Hien Tran died four days after she crashed her 2001 Honda Accord and was pierced in the neck by debris from the air bag, police said. Authorities originally believed her wounds were caused by an assault.

The regulator also has said it learned earlier this month of new tests by Toyota Motor Corp. and Takata that heightened concern about the safety of vehicles in hot, humid states. The agency responded with urget warnings to owners of 7.8 million vehicles manufactured by 10 auto makers to “act immediately” to replace “defective Takata air bags”…

In 2010, the NHTSA said that air bag-related fatalities had reached “near-zero” levels. The regulator then reported only two confirmed cases of death from the air bag deployment in 2007 and one in 2008. That is down from the average of nearly 20 fatalities a year in the 1990s, peaking at 52 in 1997. Roughly two-thirds of those deaths were of children riding in the front seat…” read in full