Senator Nelson said only 15.8 million airbag inflators were repaired as of mid-May, citing an estimate from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
He noted that President Donald Trump still has not nominated anyone to lead the NHTSA:
We’re in desperate need of a leader who will commit to resolving this Takata mess.”
Takata Corp. sent out about 8.8 million recall notices, but most owners were told there were no replacement airbags available yet. Some of those letters were sent out years ago. There is no telling when Takata will have enough airbags available.
In the meantime, the NHTSA created a website — www.AirbagRecall.com where owners can find out of their airbag was recalled and sign up to receive information when the replacement parts are ready.
Priority is being given to the highest-risk vehicles: 2001-2003 Honda Accord, Civic, CR-V, Odyssey, Pilot, and Acura TL and CL. There is up to a 50% chance of serious injury or death if the airbags in these vehicles go off.
Takata airbags have been blamed on at least 16 deaths and more than 180 injuries worldwide, mostly in Honda vehicles in the United States.
The recalled airbags contain ammonium nitrate, a highly-explosive chemical that inflates the airbag. The problem is that it can explode with excessive force — even after minor fender-benders — and spray metal shrapnel and pieces of plastic into passengers.
It is the largest safety recall in U.S. history and the NHTSA has already ordered Takata to speed up production of replacement airbags, but Takata is struggling to find a financial sponsor. In February, Takata pled guilty to criminal charges and was hit with $1 billion in federal penalties.