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Federal government takes step toward suing auto supplier refusing to recall 52 million airbag inflators

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
A deployed Takata airbag. The largest consumer recall in U.S. history, the Takata airbag recall, is still ongoing. Federal safety regulators now say another company made unsafe airbags that can injure, maim, or kill.

Federal safety regulators are on track to take a defiant Tennessee auto parts company to court after it refused to issue a recall of 52 million air bag inflators.

Regulators say the ARC Automotive inflators are defective and can explode when an air bag is deployed. 

Air bag inflators made by the company are responsible for at least seven injuries and two deaths since 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  One of those deaths was a Michigan woman.

Vehicles made by BMW, General Motors, Hyundai, and Kia are among those that may have the defective inflators in them. 

A public hearing on October 5 is likely to be followed by a lawsuit filed by the government to force the recall. 

The Associated Press reports that ARC maintains that no safety defect exists, and that the traffic safety administration has no authority to order a parts manufacturer to announce recalls.

Meanwhile, the largest safety recall in U.S. history, the Takata airbag recall, is still ongoing. Some of the oldest vehicles involved in the recall, with airbags at extremely high risk of rupture, are still on the road, unrepaired.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.
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