The massive airbag recall agreed to by maker Takata under pressure from the federal government may have a connection to the trucking industry as Daimler Trucks North America told Fleet Owner it may be impacted.
The recall affects some 34 million vehicles in the U.S. after Japan-based Takata acknowledged that its airbags could potentially explode, sending shrapnel into vehicle occupants. U.S. regulators have said that six people have died as a result globally and there have been more than 100 injured.
The full list of affected vehicles has not been released as automakers try to determine which of their products have Takata airbags installed.
According to the list of possibly affected manufacturers released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Daimler Trucks may be impacted. Other affected manufacturers include BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru or Toyota.
“The safety of our products is our highest priority and we are following this matter closely.
Daimler Trucks North America is presently investigating a very small population of potentially
affected vehicles referenced in the Takata notices. Until that small population is identified, we
have no further comment,” David Giroux, head of corporate communications and public relations for DTNA, said in an emailed statement to Fleet Owner.
According to the Dept. of Transportation, Takata has said a defect exists in its air bag inflators.
“Takata has agreed to a national recall of certain types of driver and passenger side air bag inflators. These inflators were made with a propellant that can degrade over time and has led to ruptures that have been blamed for six deaths worldwide,” DOT said in a statement.
“Today is a major step forward for public safety,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “The Department of Transportation is taking the proactive steps necessary to ensure that defective inflators are replaced with safe ones as quickly as possible, and that the highest risks are addressed first. We will not stop our work until every air bag is replaced.”
NHTSA has also issued a “consent order” requiring Takata to cooperate in all future regulatory actions taken by the agency.
The latest action on Tuesday expands what had been only a regional recall of airbags in vehicles only in areas of “high absolute humidity.”
“They also expand the current nationwide recall of driver-side inflators to more than 17 million vehicles. It’s anticipated that the remedy of vehicles will be prioritized based upon risk, with the vehicles that present the greatest risk in terms of age and geographic location to be serviced first,” DOT said.
“From the very beginning, our goal has been simple: a safe air bag in every vehicle,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “The steps we’re taking today represent significant progress toward that goal. We all know that there is more work to do, for NHTSA, for the auto makers, for parts suppliers, and for consumers. But we are determined to get to our goal as rapidly as possible.”
There is a website, www.SaferCar.gov/RecallsSpotlight, dedicated to the recall for anyone interested in seeing if their vehicle may be included in the recall.
NHTSA said there is no definite cause of the problem to date, but that moisture appears to be a factor.
“Over time, that moisture causes changes in the structure of the chemical propellant that ignites when an air bag deploys. The degraded propellant ignites too quickly, producing excess pressure that causes the inflator to rupture and sends metal shards into the passenger cabin that can lead to serious injury or death,” it said.