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The Source: One In Five Cars On Nation's Roads Recalled This Year

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Chris Eudaily
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TPR News

This year more than 52 million cars were recalled. This means that one in five cars being driven today have had a recall. Toyota, Chrysler, General Motors--and the list goes on--have helped smash the record for recalled vehicles in a year.

From ignition switch failures, as in the case of GM, to self-accelerating Toyotas, to the exploding Takata air bags, the critical and deadly defects being found in millions of cars have highlighted a culture of lax oversight and testing.  

Last week Honda  expanded their recalls of vehicles related to the exploding airbag inflator in their Civic, Odyssey and Accord models dating back more than a decade. 

Those Takata airbags, which are in more than seven million cars including Ford, Toyota, GM, BMW and more, have been reportedly shooting out shrapnel and injuring occupants. In a special Senate hearing before the Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee, Stephanie Erdman related her story of having a piece of metal permanently blind her when the airbags deployed in a relatively minor traffic accident. 

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Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida) holds an image of Stephanie Erdman after her air bag exploded, sending fragments into her eye

The ignition switch issues that GM saw and responded slowly to, even up to that now famous Congressional hearing, have resulted in an estimated 42 deaths. Toyota was fined over a billion dollars in March over the handling of their response to one recall, which was the largest criminal fine of its kind.

But is that enough to get car-makers in line? 

Meanwhile, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been criticized for dropping the ball in several of its regulatory duties. They point to the intentional obfuscation that manufacturers have relied on in several of their investigations. The top job at N.H.T.S.A. has been vacant for nearly a year, what role has that played?

What has the impact been on our safety? As pressure mounts for a stronger N.H.T.S.A., will we turn a corner on car safety or is this just a bump in the road for car manufacturers?

Guests:

Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive