US auto safety agency the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced recently its estimate for almost 34 million autos affected by the Takata Corp. airbag safety campaign could be revised.
The US auto safety regulator made the announcement because it believes the models with two front airbags made by Takata might have been double-counted. The NHTSA is currently under heavy fire for its past issues with catching on faster about the seriousness of the Takata airbag issue, as well as last year’s General Motors ignition switch recall. Mark Rosekind, the NHTSA Administrator, spoke in front of the Senate Commerce Committee on Tuesday, telling the US officials the regulators were now expecting updated information from automakers – which includes the figures for vehicles that need to have more than one Takata inflator replaced. “You’ve got too many complaints and not enough people,” he said. “It’s just overwhelming.” Rosekind defended the agency, saying it was underfunded, low staffed and had authority clearance issues in the face of criticism from lawmakers.
The top regulator official added the agency was on its way to implement a list of 44 changes to lift effectiveness, but needs Congress to allow it to access increased power to make sure recalls are completed. Last month the agency, together with Takata, said the Japanese auto safety parts manufacturer was recalling almost 34 million autos for the defective airbag inflator issue, making it the largest single-product safety campaign in US history. But subsequent analysis reported by Reuters showed the actual tally could be less than half, at around 16 million autos.