January 04, 2016
BLUMENTHAL, MARKEY STATEMENT ON TAKATA MANIPULATION OF
AIRBAG TEST DATA
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For Immediate Release
Blumenthal, Markey Statement on Takata Manipulation of Airbag Test Data
January 4, 2016
(Washington, DC) - U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), members of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, issued the following statement on new documents showing Takata knowingly manipulated test data on its airbags:
``This kind of blatant disregard for human life must be met with harsh penalties. Takata has been obfuscating data and test results for far too long and the number of deadly airbags failures continues to grow - most recently killing a teenage boy. This company has refused to acknowledge the impact its actions have had on human life, and the callousness with which it has ignored testing data and pressured scientists to cover-up safety issues is astonishing.
``The rate of repair is unacceptably slow- automakers, NHTSA and Congress all have a responsibility to ensure repairs are made quickly and further death and injury is avoided. NHTSA must use all the tools at its disposal to speed up the production of the parts needed. We continue to call on NHTSA to expand the recall to ensure that all of the tens of millions of cars containing Takata`s ammonium nitrate airbags are recalled.
Automakers must spend as much effort ensuring all vehicle owners are made aware of open safety recalls as they do advertising their vehicles to consumers in the first place. Finally, Congress should pass the Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act requiring car dealers fix these deadly defects before selling a potentially lethal used vehicle to consumers. Lastly, we urge the DOJ to root out how far this attempt to manipulate testing results goes through the company and to hold accountable every official that knew lives were in danger and refused to act.``
Senators Blumenthal and Markey first called for a nationwide recall of all affected Takata airbags in October 2014, and continued their push for an expanded recall of all Takata airbags containing ammonium nitrate in August 2015 following concerns that Takata may have obscured and delayed the investigation into the root cause of the defect. The senators have repeatedly called on NHTSA to increase its efforts in the recall process, and in November 2014 requested the Department of Justice (DOJ) conduct a criminal investigation into the company after reports from 2004 surfaced that show Takata destroyed airbags and data from test results that had raised red flags for engineers. The senators have also introduced legislation to improve the speed, effectiveness and transparency of auto recalls and safety, specifically the RECALL Act and the Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act introduced in March 2015, and the Early Warning Reporting System Improvement Act in March 2014.