Senators berate automakers on slow rate of airbag repair

Several U.S. senators chided automakers at a committee hearing Capitol Hill last week for the slow repair rate of recalled vehicles with defective airbag inflators.


The pace has improved, said John Buretta, the independent monitor managing the Coordinated Remedy Program of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). But several senators are still dissatisfied. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) spoke of the “deadly delays” that have plagued the recall.


NHTSA still has an acting administrator, Heidi King, who told the panel, “the challenge is unprecedented,” but said some automakers are doing better. Regulators have encouraged automakers to use a variety of methods to reach vehicle owners, including social media and door-to-door visits.


Honda’s recall repair rate for the airbags is 72 percent, Toyota’s is 61 percent, and Fiat/Chrysler’s is 41 percent. NHTSA says that less than half of recalled airbags have been replaced.

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