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Upton Responds to Air Bag Recalls, Warnings

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WASHINGTON, DC, October 22, 2014 | Lynn Turner / Nick Culp (269-385-0039 / 202-225-3761) | comments

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today responded to the expanded recall of vehicles equipped with faulty Takata air bag inflators and warnings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) this week urging drivers to get their cars fixed over concerns that air bag rupture could lead to severe injuries.

“The auto industry has made vast advancements in safety over the last decades – something to be commended – but as new safety features and technologies are developed, we are faced with new challenges. Airbags were designed to improve safety and help save lives, which is why it’s so disconcerting to hear reports of this life-saving tool posing a potential hazard to drivers. Recalls continue to mount across the country, and drivers are losing confidence. The first priority must be to ensure that all cars on the road are safe, and I urge drivers to heed NHTSA’s warnings and act immediately to get their vehicles fixed. We also need to take a close look at this airbag issue and the timeline and scope of the recalls to ensure that the appropriate steps are being taken to protect drivers and their families. I’ve long said that when it comes to vehicle safety, there can be no margin for error,” said Upton. 

Drivers can visit SaferCar.gov to determine if their vehicle is affected by the airbag recalls. Committee staff has requested a briefing with NHTSA on the status of the Takata air bag recalls and will also be meeting with auto manufacturers to discuss supplier issues. 

Upton has been a leader on vehicle safety issues and was the author of the TREAD Act, which enhanced communication between auto manufacturers and regulators and increased NHTSA’s ability to collect and analyze information about safety defects. The committee this year has been conducting an extensive investigation into the General Motors ignition switch recall, and recently released a report detailing NHTSA’s failures in identifying the deadly problem. The investigation found NHTSA failed to act on evidence identifying the defect and lacked a technical understanding of advanced vehicle safety systems. 

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