Tuesday, May 19, 2015 | Washington, D.C.
Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
May 19, 2015
As Prepared for Delivery
Thank you, Secretary Foxx.
Airbags save lives and as the Secretary explained, a safe air bag in every vehicle is everyone’s expectation and NHTSA’s goal. Today, we take a significant step toward meeting that expectation and goal.
The question any vehicle owner will have is: How does this affect me? We know that owners are worried about their safety and their families’.
First, millions of Americans have vehicles already under recall. They may already have received a recall notice from their manufacturer. If they have, they should immediately call their local dealer to make arrangement for free repairs.
Millions more Americans own vehicles covered by the new, expanded recalls necessary under the defect determinations Takata has filed today. When a parts supplier files a defect report, affected automakers then follow with their own defect notifications. Those documents will include detailed make and model information. We have established a website, www.safercar.gov/RecallsSpotlight, with information on high-profile recalls. The Takata section of that website will be updated with information on which cars are affected by the Takata issue as quickly as possible. We are working with the automakers to help provide that information to consumers as soon as possible, but it is likely to take several days.
We recommend that vehicle owners check their Vehicle Identification Number for open recalls often by using the VIN lookup tool at safercar.gov. And again, if you receive a notification from your manufacturer, please make an appointment to have your vehicle repaired.
Takata’s defect notifications are a significant step toward our goal of a safe air bag in every American vehicle. But as we have said repeatedly, and emphasized again this week, it is not enough to identify defects. To save lives and prevent injuries, defects must be repaired.
That is why we are launching the coordinated remedy proceeding. At more than 33 million vehicles, and with 11 manufacturers and multiple suppliers involved, this is an enormously complex situation. We want to ensure that the remedy is organized so that safety comes first. We will coordinate remedy actions to ensure that we are appropriately addressing the highest risks quickly and that every American who is at risk gets a safe air bag in their vehicle as rapidly as possible.
In addition, NHTSA has begun its own testing plan. Already, Takata, individual manufacturers, a coalition of manufacturers, and private plaintiffs have launched testing programs. However, given the size and complexity of this recall, we will conduct our own testing, to confirm results of other testing programs and to focus on the intended remedy to ensure that remedy inflators aren’t just safer, but are fully safe.
That is why the consent order Takata has entered into requires the company to fully cooperate with NHTSA’s evaluation of the adequacy of proposed remedy inflators. We intend to make sure that at the end of this process there is a safe air bag in every vehicle – safe not just for a while, but safe for as long as a vehicle is on the road.