General Motors (GM) Petitions to Delay Recall of Takata Airbag-Equipped Vehicles

  • November 22, 2016
150 150 Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 22, 2016

Contact: Cathy Chase, 571-243-7282,

General Motors (GM) Petitions to Delay Recall of Takata Airbag-Equipped Vehicles

Decision by U.S. DOT Gives GM the Green Light to Continue to Shirk Safety Responsibility to Get Exploding Takata Airbags Out of Vehicles and Off the Roads

Statement of Cathy Chase, Vice President of Governmental Affairs

A Petition filed by General Motors (GM) with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) seriously risks public safety and potentially the lives of GM vehicle occupants by delaying the recall of vehicles with dangerously flawed Takata airbag inflators that explode when activated. The Petition claims that even though certain GM vehicles are equipped with these dangerous Takata airbags, the danger is “inconsequential to safety.”  This claim is belied by the fact that Takata airbags are responsible for at least 11 deaths in the United States and pose an unprecedented safety threat to vehicle occupants.  Labeling this defect as “inconsequential to safety” is abhorrent, shameful and outrageous.  It purposefully ignores the potential dangers, fatalities and injuries that have resulted when the same type of airbags as those in the GM vehicles explode.

GM has based its Petition to delay recalls on sparse data and incomplete testing. In fact, GM has only tested 12 inflators subjected to artificial aging to replicate the suspected cause of the problem. It defies commonsense and logic that the agency would accept a sample size of a dozen when considering the grave consequences known to result from the Takata ruptures and allow these vehicles to remain on the roads. The public has a right to know if the vehicle they depend on to transport their family safely is a ticking time bomb. Given the pervasiveness of the Takata airbag recalls, with a record number of more than 65 million either currently recalled or subject to recall under the NHTSA-Takata Consent Order, it is critical that all consumers be made aware if their vehicle is subject to this clear safety risk.

As the Petition states, the studies and analysis on the Takata inflators will not be complete until August 31, 2017.  And yet, NHTSA has granted GM’s request for additional time to present evidence that the Takata airbags installed in some of its vehicles are not defective and will not explode, even though the agency has stated that GM’s evidence to date is not yet sufficient to make that determination. This is a total departure from agency practice on safety petitions. This decision is nothing less than an abrogation of the responsibility of the federal agency charged with regulating motor vehicles and a failure to protect public safety.

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