Two thirds of the roughly 2.3 million vehicles in Florida with potentially deadly Takata airbags have not yet been repaired, according to new figures released today by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL).
The numbers provided to Nelson by the independent monitor appointed to oversee Takata’s handling of the recall show that approximately 30.4 million of the 46.2 million recalled inflators nationwide have not yet been repaired as of mid-May.
“It’s been two years since the first nationwide recall and we still can’t get these potentially deadly vehicles repaired fast enough,” said Nelson, the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee. “We’ve got to pick up the pace on boosting production of replacement inflators and assisting consumers who need to get their vehicles fixed.”
The new numbers come just two weeks after four of the nation’s top automakers – Toyota, BMW, Subaru and Mazda – agreed to provide $533 million to owners of vehicles equipped with the faulty airbags.
A portion of that money will reportedly be used to encourage owners to bring their recalled vehicles in for repair.
To date, defective Takata airbags have been linked to as many as 16 deaths and more than 180 injuries worldwide.
In Florida, where heat and high humidity are thought to be contributing factors in the airbag failures, the new figures show automakers have repaired only 1 million of the roughly 3.1 million defective inflators believed to be in the state, which means there are still approximately 1.5 million vehicles in Florida with one or more unrepaired – and potentially deadly – airbag.
Nelson says the fact that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been without a leader since the new administration took office in January is only compounding the problem.
“We’re in desperate need of a leader who will commit to resolving this Takata mess,” Nelson said. “At the rate we’re going, we might land humans on Mars before all of these deadly inflators are off the road.”