Takata Air Bag Senate Hearing Scheduled For Nov. 20

Nov 14, 2014 07:00 PM EST | Matt Mercuro

A U.S. Senate Committee hearing into the recalls of defective Takata Corp. airbags that have been linked to five deaths, so far, is scheduled for next Thursday.

"The hearing will examine the circumstances of a series of recalls beginning in 2008 for defective airbags manufactured by Takata," according to a posting by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. "The hearing will focus on how defective Takata airbags became installed in so many vehicles and the responses of both automakers and NHTSA to remedy the safety defect to protect consumers."

The hearing comes as the Japanese air bag maker disclosed that it is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department over air bags that could explode with too much force and send metal shrapnel into the passenger compartment.

Four deaths have been linked to the issue in the U.S., according to the Associated Press. A fifth, which was disclosed on Thursday, took place in Malaysia.

The most recent recalls for Takata air bags involves 10 different automakers and affects more than 7.8 million vehicles in the U.S. A number of the recalls have been limited to high-humidity areas in Southern states and U.S. territories however.

Lawmakers have called for a national recall, but the NHTSA and Takata have said the issue has only surfaced in areas with average dew points above 60 degrees, according to the AP.

Honda has recalled more than 6 million vehicles to replace Takata-supplied airbag inflators, according to Reuters. The automaker will be represented at the hearing, though a list of those testifying has not been released as of press time.

Automakers replacing air bags include Nissan, Chrysler, Ford, Mazda, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Toyota, BMW and General Motors. The NHTSA urged owners of affected models to act on recall notices to replace defective airbags.

Worries consumers can watch the hearing live at 10 a.m. through the Senate Commerce Committee Web site.

At least two sessions are likely, one with Takata representatives and another with officials from government safety agencies, according to the AP.

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