US: NHTSA ready to hasten Takata, Jeep safety campaigns image

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the US auto safety regulator, is getting ready to speed up two of its long-running recall campaigns – viewing them as progressing too slow and becoming a safety hazard.

According to the agency’s top official, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind, the regulator has two work groups tasked with developing a “range of options” for the action needed to hasten Takata and FCA US. The latter involves the recall of 1.56 million old Jeep sport utility vehicles because they were equipped with gas tanks that could rupture and cause a fire when struck in a rear-end-crash. The recall ahs regained nation wide coverage after a jury in a trial involving the automaker and the victims’ family of such an accident were awarded with record compensation. It also set the precedent for calling the company’s design mistake, with FCA US openly claiming there was no flaw involved. The agency also wants to speed up the widespread Takata airbag inflator recalls, which have targeted more than 25 million vehicles worldwide since 2008.

“The most important thing was to be able to generate a range of options,” commented the official. “For both [the Takata and Jeep recalls], I think we’re one or two weeks away from actually having some concrete things to start taking action on.” The NHTSA administrator avoided being specific on the matter, but pointed out the agency has repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with the speed the repairs are being tallied. Reports cite a desire to reopen the Jeep investigation and an order for the Takata campaigns to hasten servicing.

VIa Automotive News