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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 21, 2014 6:00pm-8:01pm EST

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made in the process that leads you to believe that? >> yes. there are two there are two major causes of the problems one is, pressed from the powder. we controlled the compression force to get certain density. density. however, at that time, the beginning of production, the compaction force control is not what well and as we expected, according to investigation. we changed,, and now the new machines can control the compression force for each cylinder and at the same time also we have a device
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which if the compaction force is not as designed there is a detection of the failure and the detection device rejects the problem. so this device will take care of the issues of compaction force over, you can say, best issues. the other is humidity control. ammonium nitrate, many advantage to use that. however, there are well-known affected by humidity. we put special control in processes of manufacturing. however, because of the issue existing in the past
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and also the humidity control well enough we since then, we control the humidity during process in the plant much tighter. we can control this much better where we manufacture. >> the media report, as i referenced earlier, that takata may have been aware as early as 2004. i know those allegations have been denied, but we need answers from an independent source about it when takata became aware of the defect, whether it was concealed. as you know, general motors commissioned an internal investigation will takata initiate an investigation and release a public report?
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>> according. >> according to the record of communication i confirmed the date states may 2,005. the first time, according to my understanding, we started the investigation. ..
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and he reported back to the automakers. >> but were you initiating some sort of independent investigation? i know you are talking about other things that you looked into but i think there's a real concern here that, that perhaps isn't as independent as it could be. and so have you given thought or would you initiate some sort of an independent investigation where someone outside the company that takes a look at these things and can report back about whether or not there was wrongdoing and if not why wouldn't you do that? >> senator, we were not involved at that time so we can't answer that question. >> understand at that time you were but my question is perfec perfect -- respectively now i think for most of us that something that would make sense to have somebody that's independent take a look at this, examine this and similar to what
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general motors did with the ignition switch issue. >> yes, senator i agree with that and recently we reviewed the independent -- to check on the data processes too. we are doing decently but not other times. >> we will revisit that issue. very quickly if i might mr. chairman mr. schostek there are as we heard from lieutenant erdman when she referenced her vehicle with service multiple times at dealerships, and after the recall but prior to the tragic accident, is there not some policy where your dealers actually when someone brings a car in like that would at least notify the customer of some of these safety matters? she didn't receive notification
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until three days after her accident. >> indeed senator thune there is such a policy and we failed lieutenant erdman and art dealer failed lieutenant erdman. you heard her speak about notifications from honda that she did not receive so we did not effectively get word to her of her recalled vehicle. in addition as she has told you she brought the car to a honda dealer for other service. her vin number was not checked and as a result we lost opportunities to repair her vehicle. we failed lieutenant erdman and the dealers failed lieutenant erdman. we have a policy art dealers are independent franchisees as you know. we communicate with them regularly about the importance of checking each car when it comes in for service to see if there are any outstanding recalls. we communicated that in march of this year. we communicated that a week or so ago. very often we are doing that.
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if you also look at the complete testimony that i made, we are endeavoring to continuously improve the way we reach out to customers. i have to say the populations involved in these recalls are older vehicles. it is harder to track down the current owner. that is not an excuse. we have to do better. we failed lieutenant erdman. >> because older vehicles may seem the ideal time when owners bring their men. >> i agree senator thune into our everlasting regret we missed those opportunities. >> and in the mail we are finding i think isn't the most effective way to get that message out there and these dealerships may be dropping the ball so i'm interested in knowing what you and mr. kunselman chrysler the current policy is that what you intend to do to improve that in the future and my time is up mr. chairman but if i could get mr. kunselman quickly to respond to what chrysler's policy is and what we are going to do
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differently. >> certainly. similar to what mr. schostek said our policy clearly is through the dealership to communicate to consumers when they come to the dealership what open recalls are on their vehicle. in fact the electronic systems that are available that i -- identify the vehicle is ready and available and they don't have to look hard to find it. it's our policy that they not only communicate to make every effort not to have a consumer leave the dealership without scheduling or performing that service on-site. >> thanks. >> mr. kunselman i would suggest that the next three weeks might be critical and that you all need to be forward-leaning on that and mr. schostek thank you for stepping forward and taking some responsibility,
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specifically with regard to the lieutenant and mr. shimizu i would urge you as senator thune has requested and this committee will follow up, that this independent inquiry be quick and swift and public. senator klobuchar. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. thanks for holding this hearing. thank you to our witnesses. i wish to say that i really believe there needs to be a full investigation of what happened and i say this on behalf of a victim in my state who was driving in her car in norfolk minnesota. it was a 2002 bmw but this actually happen in 2013 and there have not been a recall and that airbag exploded in her face. she is permanently blind and so that is why looking back and
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trying to figure out what happened is very important to me. why did it take years to disclose the danger of the defective airbags despite numerous red flags? when did the company noted the defective part was limited to certain honda vehicles and its takata take -- on those airbags and not record the findings? to me those are really key questions on behalf of constituents. in addition to the fact that hounded to handle that which i'm sure we will be dealing with in the next panel. my first question mr. schostek is honda has been aware of these airbags for years and you issue their first recall back in 2008 and the senate has been expanded multiple times why do it that way? why do one expansive recall from the outset and avoid these additional recalls? >> yes, senator. in 2007 we saw a series of
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inflator rupture defects and began our investigation. in working with takata they identified specific manufacturing problems in their manufacturing plants that were related to the times that those inflators were produced and would be put into our cars. we recalled based on that information really expanded the recall when another different manufacturing issue was brought to our attention by takata and in all, we did for recalls from 2008 through 2011. i think it's important for the committee to understand that those for recalls which we did have no geographic boundary. they had no geographic boundary and the injuries that have occurred from ruptures, there have been 45 injuries with honda
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vehicles. 43 of those correlate to the time of those takata manufacturing concerns. and do i regret all four fatalities correspond at the same time so we are talking about recalls that were done in 2008 to 2011 because of different manufacturing issues that takata made us aware of and it's pretty strong data that shows this is where the majority of the problems have been occurring in those recalls weren't. >> i am not saying they were regionally limited. it's just that you had recall after recall after recall when clearly there were these grie grief -- red flags and the reason it matters to the constituent that is permanently blind it seems it's a different manufacture but if takata had done a more global look at what's happening and by global i mean all of their airbags i don't think this would have happened. so to you mr. shimizu in
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november 6 "new york times" article revealed he had a secretly conducted tests in 2004 in your auburn michigan location in response to the release of metal fragment issue with the honda accord and according to the article two of the inflators allegedly cracked during the test and takata executives ordered the test bag deleted and takata disputed the report saying the report was based on misunderstanding. what specifically about the report was inaccurate? >> yes, senator. again regarding the instance of the honda recalling 2004 according to my knowledge it was informed to takata in may of 2005 so there is no way we can do any tests relating to that
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issue beforehand. the incident happened in 2007 and at that time we started an investigation about to identify the problem and then at that time we had a series of tests and all the test results from the starting point of the investigation were shared with automakers and also nhtsa. >> so just to go back to 2004, my issue is my constituent was blinded in 2013 so in 2010 bmw sent a letter to nhtsa that it was aware of the takata airbags under honda recall and of course she was driving a bmw but she received documentation from takata and getting bmw vehicles were not affected so what
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documentation did takata provide two bmw because this is post 2007. we are not in 2004. we are in 2013. so i'm asking specifically about bmw and if you don't know you can send it to me later but i would like to know what documentation was provided to bmw about their situation because they told nhtsa that they knew about these problems with honda recalls that they had received documentation from takata indicating that bmw vehicles were not affected. >> senator, was it a driver side airbag? >> i believe it was the driver side. >> let me answer a bit of what i know. we do the recalls of the honda
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vehicles and as you mentioned senator multiple times you call the psc i. it's the driver-side inflator. other times the bmw supplied the bmw with the psc f-4 and the psc f-4 is a structure that looks the same from the outside but different and produced in a different line so that's the major reason is the psc i was recalled but the ps j. fours a different structure. >> so when and this is my last question when he landed he become there were -- when were you aware that there were problems with the bmw airbags?
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>> i'm sorry, i don't know. >> all right, thank you. >> just so it's clear to everybody, what we are talking about, this is the middle of the steering wheel. this is the inflator and it fits in there and then when the impact occurs, the explosion is supposed to come this way but as we said earlier, if the explosive forces to grade it breaks up this medal and the metal starts coming through the middle. every one of us at this hearing table has had constituents affected by this. in florida, right in central florida we have had one death and in the case of cory burdick
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a fireman, a firefighter he has no eyes now for the rest of his life. very similar to the situation of the lieutenant but in this case the metal had penetrated his actual eye so this is why we are so concerned about this to get to the bottom of this. senator ayotte. >> i want to thank the chairman and ranking member for holding this very important hearing. i want to just follow up mr. shimizu on a question that senator klobuchar had asked you about with regard to the report in "the new york times" about the 2004 secret test by takata. as i heard your testimony in response to her question you said that takata wasn't formed
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until 2005 about a particular incident and what incident was that? >> it happened in 2004 with the honda vehicles and drivers were injured. >> okay and then he said there were a series of incidents in 2007 that prompted an investigation within takata? >> yes. >> when was nhtsa first notifi notified? >> it happened during the year of 2007. they deeply investigated the cause of the problems. >> y. with the 2005 incident was there an investigation conducted
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within takata? >> we did. we received a picture and our engineers checked the picture and based on the sheer numbers provided and as i said they recognized the problem from the picture however it didn't shawnee system error with the present record and there is not enough technical evidence at the time that we believe is required to take an action at that time. >> so you didn't take any further steps to investigate the anomaly that your engineer saw saw? did you report it to anyone did you talk to nhtsa about it or honda or anyone else? >> according to my understanding
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we didn't inform nhtsa that we informed -- he knott. >> throughout this i would like to understand whether takata believes as it receives reports and i would like to also inquire mr. schostek from honda when it received reports of both incidents of injury and unfortunately these horrible incidents of death, when do you believe that you reported them to nhtsa and you believe you complied with the tread act? >> let me answer that senator and if i might around the discussion you have been having with mr. shimizu the first event of a rupture in a honda vehicle occurred in 2004. we received notice of that event through our legal department in may of 2004.
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we are still checking our records but as mr. shimizu said what we can find now is that we provided that information to takata in 2005. we did report the 2004 event on our tread report which is provided to nhtsa. as we were discussing in 2007, there were several events. it was at this time that we and takata engaged in the beginnings of an investigation. ultimately in that investigation takata has made a presentation that shows the 2007 event and the manufacturing deficiencies that cause the defects and also compared it to that 2004 events. the 2007 event, those manufacturing sides clearly show improper density in the inflator
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propellant. the 2004 event ultimately it was only investigated and it shows a proper density for the inflated repellent. it's not an excuse senator but that information we could have cleaned maybe sooner in 2004 would not have helped us predict the events in 2007. as i look back on our activity i think we acted with urgency but do i think we could have moved faster in some respects? i absolutely do. have we met our obligations to report to tread? we have not and i think we have an ongoing internal review about that process. that information is due to be provided by honda to nhtsa on this coming monday. we will provide it on time and
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we will share with them any gaps or deficiencies in our tread reporting at that time. >> so i know that my time has expired here but let me just say that i echo the comments of my colleague. this really does warrant a thorough investigation because these timeframes, the reporting requirements, the questions that have been raised -- you know gm undertook this activity with regard to the ignition switch and given the seriousness of this matter i would think that takata and honda would want to undertake the same so let me urge you to do that as well. my time is up but mr. kunselman let me just say i'm troubled about the december 19 peace because i think you should instead of waiting for people to call you with concerns should affirmatively reach out to your
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customers while they were waiting until december night regardless of how you do the data airbags differently than the alpha so i think i'm very concerned about the december 19 date. >> thank you senator ayotte for underscoring that for us. senator heller. >> mr. chairman thank you into the ranking member thank you also for having this hearing. mr. shimizu i did read your testimony and it does discuss your anguish and i can understand that. your commitment to address this issue properly and promptly however i think there was something that was amiss in your testimony and that was that nowhere does it say that takata takes full responsibility so i want to ask you right now does takata take full responsibility for this tragic defect?
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>> can i ask you to confirm your question? >> sure. >> senator, i confirm which are you talking about? >> i'm talking about the five deaths. >> the five deaths. >> do you take full responsibility for those five deaths? does takata take full responsibility? >> i understand we recognize the three victims cases relating to
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our product during the accident. >> so let's take a three. this takata take full responsibility for those three deaths? >> my understanding is our products in this accident worked normally -- yes. >> mr. schostek i got a phonecall from my wife recently. a good morning america piece was done on this issue and she is probably doing what every parent is doing in america today.
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we have a 2007 honda civic and we bought it brand-new. they probably did get recall notices on that and my wife would remember she did. i'm going to give to you the same question that she asked me. if our 18-year-old daughter were to drive the car today, 2007 honda civic, would she be safe? >> senator, we have several different analyses of what the problems are with these airbags in our vehicles. as i mentioned before, the recalls that we did in 2008 through 2011 we connected those two takata manufacturing issues and we urged our customers and those have no geographic limits, we urged customers to get those vehicles repaired because there is a risk.
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there is a risk. with regard to the more recent regional recalls where there is not as much information available as to what is the cause of these ruptures in the airbags, where there is a concern about humidity and we have the same concern about humidity. we look at the 45 injuries that have occurred. 17 of them have occurred in florida and puerto rico and texas. the large majority of these issues are occurring in southern areas, so we are trying to understand if there is any additional risk out there and when we find a risk we do a recall. it's our responsibility to recall those vehicles will be find a risk. >> we do look at the vin number through nhtsa's site and a 72,006 or earlier a vehicle
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would have been subject to the recall but not in 2007. how can you assure me today that in a 2007 vehicle is safe for any young adult on the road to drive today? >> senator with your indulgence i'm not sure of all the exact models and the point in terms of the recalls. if that vehicle is subject to a recall we wanted six. if that vehicle was not subject to a recall we have determined the risk so we have been deeming it safe for the driver. >> we had a conversation earlier in my office and he said it was difficult to determine the safety of the device because of proprietary reasons. would i be accurate in assuming that we can't be assured, 100% assured not knowing what changes were made in these airbags? >> senator heller we are not chemical propellant experts. at honda there is proprietary
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technology involved. there have been improvements made by takata as time has gone on. for example there are differences in the shape of the propellant wafer. i'm not an engineer and to me as a layperson make sense of that different shape a result in a better manufacturing process but respectfully senator i would defer questions about the intellectual property and proprietary aspects of the chemistry to takata. >> thank you. mr. chairman my time is run out but i think i represent every parent across america concerned with their young adults and the cars they are driving today as to whether or not they haven't airbags sitting in front of them today that may cause severe injuries as we have heard in the testimony today and even death so thank you. >> senator heller let the record show that the pauses that
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occurred to you or to direct questions to the two gentlemen that those pauses i can say for this senator were painful and perhaps on the basis of mr. schostek's response you had better tell your daughter not to drive south in her honda. senator markey. >> thank you mr. chairman very much. in the audience today, kim is sitting right over here. her sister was killed in arizona in november 2003 sitting in the passenger side of a subaru model that contains defective takata airbags but that subaru model has only been recalled in humid
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states which arizona certainly is not. so my first question to you is, mr. shimizu would you first of all right now given your testimony, agree with the position that nhtsa has taken, recalling that you have said so far that takata strongly agrees with the position taken by nhtsa that they recalls be limited to humid states that nhtsa called for a nationwide recall of all impacted driver-side takata airbags. does takata support the new nationwide recall? >> i understand that the took it
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to a national recall. i understand it's one instance and. >> do you agree or disagree with nhtsa's call for a nationwide recall mr. shimizu? >> senator, it's hard for me to know. >> it's hard -- it's not hard for you to answer yes or no. do you support the nationwide recall of airbags that the department of transportation has issued, yes or no? >> ican senator i did look at the data from any incident to support -- on automakers to take
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care of the issues. >> i will take that as a no you do not agree with the decision by nhtsa and i think you're just plain wrong here and i think it's very disturbing i think two and the american family who has a vehicle with takata airbags. i think that's her position today after all we have learned i think your company has made a big mistake in not supporting this recall wholeheartedly. now let me move on if i can to you mr. schostek and you've mr. kunselman. kim's sister was killed with the passenger side airbag and i think that there is kind of a roulette like quality to this, hoping that they airbag doesn't stall and it's the driver-side
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that is now being recall but not not the passenger-side? i don't think that's right. i don't think anyone should have to worry that any of their family members are in danger. kim lost her sister forever. does honda support a recall of passenger-side bags as well given what we now know about the ticking time bombs that each one of these airbags potentially are as a risk to american families? >> senator markey there are two confirmed airbag pressures on the passenger inflator ruptures and honda vehicles. we have not experienced any injuries. they are part of the improvement campaign. we have actually recalled i believe 10 states passenger airbags. we are actively working on that right now. again those are concentrated.
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>> do you support passenger-side recalls that would be the equivalent of the driver-side recall mr. schostek? >> we have ongoing the passenger airbag recall in the key is to understand what the technical information is. >> not a voluntary or geographic recall but do you support a national recall on passenger-side bags yes or no mr. schostek? >> is to a national recall we are not actively considering that mr. markey. wired now our priorities. >> right now. yes or no do you support a nationwide recall? >> not voluntary, not geographic, nationwide you supported yes or no? >> respectfully senator i want to point out that the answer to
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this question is based on the data. i haven't received that specific requests but i would respond quickly using our rigorous internal process to make that decision paid. >> these airbags are the same whether they hurt the lieutenant or they kill -- and they should be recalled and each of you should be saying today that you support that wholeheartedly. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you senator. thank you for making it so direct. yes or no just like senator heller did as well. senator blumenthal. >> thanks mr. chairman. you know, i know that you are here in good faith so i hope you won't take that anything am going to say personally but it strikes me that these airbags
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failed that the system failed equally if not more. first of all i want to join senator markey in his calling for a national recall of all cars if these airbags are on the passenger's side as well as the drivers side. i am also calling on the secretary of transportation to immediately accelerate the replacement process looking forward. at the current rate production by takata of 300,000 airbags a month, there is no way that there will be -- available so i ask you will you cooperate in an accelerated replacement process so that competitors of takata will be called upon to supply those products?
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to each of you mr. schostek and mr. kunselman. >> obviously i mentioned again that we have enough addition to our customers. accelerating the production of parts and giving -- getting this process done quicker. >> so that would be yes. mr. schostek we you take nontakata parts to replace those airbags? >> senator we want to get these car sticks in the safety of our customers is the top priority. all options are on the table. >> i'm going to ask mr. to do so but i hope you will cooperate. when i say the system failed, we are here because delay, nondisclosure as well as potential perception and
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concealment. in fact both of your companies entered into settlements that were lit up really and purposefully concealed in court orders. damien fernandez in florida, actually par him the first in 2006 in oklahoma city in 2009 jennifer griffin orange county florida 2009, bridget westmore virginia 2009 christie williams in georgia in 2010 at the first was driving a chrysler and the others were driving a honda. your company settled with them. if that information had been made public more people would know about this deadly defective airbag and fewer people would have been killed. do you agree?
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>> mr. kunselman and mr. schostek. >> respectfully i would highlight that incident did occur in the fall of 2013 and i highlighted it in my opening statement. while it's our policy when we enter into confidential settlement terms the existence of that incident was not concealed anyway. >> but the details were and the devil was in the details here, don't you agree? >> i would ask for a definition of details. >> well the details of how and why and what the role of the airbag was in that crash. >> mr. schostek do you agree? and let me ask both of you will your companies submit to declining from now on to enter
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into these kinds of secret settlements and concealing the facts around the crashes that resulted from defective products. >> senator two of the cases you cite with we provided information about those inflators ruptures to nhtsa. we have talked about them to takata. >> but not to the public. your company deliberately concealed the fact that otherwise would have been known to the public as a result of this court action. >> i respectfully disagree. the case was reported in the tread material. i understand your point that ms. parham's was not that we weren't talking to nhtsa 16 days after that trip report was due giving them all the information we had about the inflators. with respect to confidential settlements are legal system
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recognizes confidential services than we do not intend to hide behind settlements. we take the information that comes out during lawsuits to be available to nhtsa and we support the principle of others as well. >> mr. shimizu i want to show you some standards that are used in testin testing american cars. these are standards that are specifically required by american law to test. were those standards used prior to the sending of those airbags to these american companies? >> i am sure it's possible that
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the company knows about this. >> somebody in your company knows about it but you don't know whether those standards were used? i would like to get an answer from you in writing after this hearing that these standards, the u.s. car standards, they apply to this hermetic sealing of those airbags to protect them from moisture. you are unable to provide this committee and insurance that these standards were used and applied. i want to know from someone in your company under oath whether those standards were applied to every airbag in other words if the designs were changed over
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the years and whether they were tested with those standards when there were reports of the defect? >> senator if you allow me i will talk to them and then get back to the committee about this if that is acceptable. >> thank you. and let me just conclude, i hope that your companies will join in supporting the legislation was some kind of litigation legislation that would prevent these kinds of settlements that have contributed to the problem and the courts not be complicit and i hope that your companies will cooperate and join in supporting this legislation. thank you mr. chairman. >> senator mccaskill. >> thank you. mr. shimizu is your company the only company that uses ammonium nitrate that manufactures airbags?
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>> senator i don't know what competitors are using but i have heard that competitors are using this. >> information is that we have therefore five companies and your company is the only one using ammonium nitrate. let me ask you this question i still using ammonium nitrate and the manufacture of airbags? >> yes, senator. >> that is worrisome to me. let me now move to chrysler and honda. i am confused and i guarantee if i'm confused your customers are confused. the letter that chrysler sent to nitzan june 20th, 2014 i would like these letters to be put into the record if i may. listen to this paragraph although rice wears not made a determination of the defect is
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chrysler's intention to conduct a field action to replace the driver airbag inflators between june -- as well as the passenger airbag inflators so i am guessing a lawyer wrote that paragraph because i have a letter from a honda that says we determined the potential feedback relating to motor vehicle safety exist. that was written in 2008 and then we have another letter from honda in 2014 saying we have decided to conduct a safety improvement campaign. we have not made a determination that a safety defect exists. then you go down the list of the notifications and i'm going to start in june of 2014. we have a service campaign and then a service campaign, then a honda safety recall and then a mazda service campaign and then a mix of busy -- mitsubishi
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recall and then a nissan service campaign, and a nissan safety recall. then we have a subaru safety recall and then we have a subaru service campaign. do you understand the issue here? what's going on here is a refusal to characterize the problem in the way that is clearly understandable to the consumer. we have had more recalls in the last year and a half in american car manufacturing them in the history of american car manufacturing. probably less true than we have had in many many years. the problem is i don't think people that are driving these cars understand the risks because you guys are getting comfortable with being consistent as to whether or not you are telling nhtsa it's a service campaign or a safety recall. in your mind mr. kunselman other than avoiding litigation and liability why would you differentiate between a service
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call and a safety recall? >> yes senator vitter would like to start by saying it's chrysler's policy that regardless of which way these actions are initiated or how they are characterized their recall or field service campaign the customer information is identical. we profiled the same information with nhtsa and the mailings that goes to our customers are the same. >> may we say that this is a safety recall and you are in danger and you need to get this car and/or doesn't say this is a notice that this part has been recalled without an emphasis on safety? >> to my understanding it doesn't characterize it as a safety concern. >> i would like to concede for all those that involve your company all the service campaigns versus safety recalls, i would like to see the notices that went to your drivers. i would like to see the language
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of those and if in fact the language is the same goes to the drivers white space language different to nhtsa? >> the characterization in terms of how we characterize this again chrysler is agreeing to do this with one incident and the lack of understanding of root cause. i know this will sound like engineering terminology but the thing that is still open in this instance with the state -- these data inflators is an absence to the root cause. in the absence of a defined root cause it makes the next steps difficult in terms of what to do. i think this is the nuance of definition as to why it's characterize this way. >> mr. schostek is the reason there's a difference and characterization to nhtsa is your notification to your drivers identical as to whether or not it's a service campaign or a safety recall? >> senator there is confusion here in the predatory framework
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we are operating under a certain terms that are part of that regulatory framework that we are using. i'm not engineer. i have asked the same questions that you have asked what is the practical difference for the customer and i have been told none. they need to bring their car in and in terms of how we are looking for evidence of risk and so forth, that should be the manufactures responsibility working with the suppliers and working with nhtsa but i would support if he could make this clear for consumers and i'd be happy to work with you. >> are you sending the same notification to your drivers whether or not it's a safety recall or whether or not it's a safety campaign? >> senator i would like to doublecheck but i think they are very similar notifications whether to service campaign or a safety recall. our interest is to tell that customer to please call and come to a dealership and get the part replaced. whether the replacement is for the purpose of identifying a defect for re-collar the purpose of getting more information
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which is a safety improvement campaign, i think we should help the consumer by not having it unclear to them. >> i will tell you what if i get a letter saying we are investigating something we bring your car in so we can help you, if you drive this he you could have a piece of shrapnel embedded in your eye and if the driver is in the seat next to you she could be blinded or you could die. that's a lot different than hey we are checking out an investigation can you bring it in so we can check it out? i think we found that the gm. as you all know you have followed it closely there were lawyers that were trying to avoid litigation. there were not lawyers that were trying to make sure every consumer knew the danger. we have got to get out of this crouch about liability litigation and get into an offense of possession about making sure drivers are safe. until your companies decide to
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do that, until nhtsa is a more able and aggressive partner and that consumers are going to be in the dark. the exchange between senator heller about whether or not his daughter would be safe was incredible. he's united states senator and he's asking somebody in charge of the company that made his daughter's car whether we are safer to drive it and it was clear you weren't sure how to answer it. that's a problem. we have a problem. so we are going to keep having these hearings and keep working on legislation we are going to keep yelling at nhtsa until we get this right for the public. this is unacceptable. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you senator. senator cantwell. >> thank you mr. chairman and i'd like to follow-up on a a couple points at my college that made and i share their frustration and angst over the situation when there is such a pause and we are just doing what
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nhtsa says. today's hearing is a very good opportunity for us to look at changes to be made not with what is required today. now that we are here what do we need to improve the situation but first i want to follow up on the airbag recall situation as it relates to the passenger side grade i want to ask you mr. shimizu if we actually -- would you be able to meet demand if it was for all passenger side airbags? would you be able to meet that demand whether we need the secretary to help expedite this with other manufactures? i heard mr. schostek say to senator blumenthal's question, i read hesitance into that but we will see what nhtsa says. i'm asking you now can you meet that demand on the passenger side bags and if not let's get to the bottom line here. >> be committed to sue -- supply
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of the passenger side airbags. currently we are producing 300,000 per month in total and we understand we have to speed up the case. we have added two more lines generally and we have also committed in the beginning. we have to committed. [inaudible] also we have four and later plans and a plant in new mexico is producing the inflator and
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running at full capacity right now. the plant had extra capacity so we decided to move some of the products from mexico to germany so mexico can open up some capacity to provide more inflators. >> so the secretary doesn't need to take action? >> it shouldn't be a mystery here. we should be clear whether we need more capacity by other suppliers are not. >> we understand that we have to speed up and increase the 450,000, speed it up. so we are discussing automakers and any adoption we can take to
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speed up production. and the answer to your question is i'm not sure. >> maybe i will ask the other two. mr. schostek do you think we need to have the secretary take action, yes or no? >> at the present time we have enough supply for the demand that the demand could change based on future actions. i'm not in a position to judge takata's ultimate capacity here. for us all options should be on the table to get parts replacing customer vehicles. >> i have about one minute left and i want to get another point but i'm going to follow-up on this with each to each of you and with the secretary died why are we not here today discussing why not make manufactures responsible for 100% recall? the gaps that i see, first of
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all i don't see an e-mail system here or i don't see an amber alert. we have people who are dying and we are hiding behind an agreement and we did a settlement and in the settlement nobody really knew what was going on. my understanding is germany has more like a 100% recall. we have a gap here with people who are second purchasers not knowing if they are communicating with the first, my understanding the first fire so why not just say that you are responsible for getting 100% recall? the cars are yours. you are out there in the public. why not set a better goal than what we have? ..
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>> >> tamayo understanding germany has a process before a car can get a registered it needs to be checked for outstanding recalls similar to some states like emissions certificate precedes registration. don't misunderstand honda will take any tools to get
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the recalls dunn. that is what we want to happen maybe at the state's level. >> the more that manufacturers can talk been the better that will be. >> this question involves three of the company's that can do guaranteed nobody drives these vehicles house side of the territories p.r. or u.s. virgin islands with by committee. can you guarantee that no one will be injured by this device? >> they are issues and to
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render standing and to reduce control the budget process. regarding the recall according to records spinnaker no lean-tos cut you off but i have limited time if you spend the entire time with your car is a
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north dakota or wisconsin but did you tell us you are confident that we cannot see what happened in florida? >> if it is not under recall then i believe we have faith as we said before. >> we will never get read a story of a story that we saw in florida? that is your story? >> i believe. >> we have some that are outstanding to use the takata manufacturing issues 2008 through 2011 there was
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no geographic limits their uncompleted and recalls. we want those customers to come in. >> but those not covered by the recall you say that has nothing to do a geographic limits? if your car is not currently covered under the existing recall you have nothing to worry about? >> we have identified in the humid air is that is what we are working on those vehicles. >> but i would characterize in my opening statement as an ongoing investigation at least once during the testimony it absence of the
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defined root cause for the beta population refined it difficult to guarantee of the geographic regions identified then data confirms of the utmost importance to deal with those first but with an open status to i could not affirm that. >> i have one minute left. to any companies calculate that the cost of conducting the recall outweighed the benefits to alert consumers it decided not to move forward? >> was there of time it would cost so much financial aid to -- which initially because the safety risk does not justify it? >> i consider that is not the case of chrysler.
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>> if either driving one of these cars now. the customer there geographically located should i go on about my life? >> if the customer has a concern? >> should they have a worry? >>. >> we see the risk much higher and as to what is the cause is what we're all trying to get to. >> senator i would say for the chrysler vehicles not covered by the recall i would drive them myself.
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>> senator rubio they see the risk much higher but the associated press reported november 17th they decided to replace takata airbags nationwide rather than just hot and humid states. so they also indicated that honda had no intention to notify customers instead that they would have to go to their dealer. sova mr. schostek why did honda believe that was inappropriate to do a remedy but not telling anybody? >> this is not a quiet policy is on the nhtsa web
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site because we plotted their aching dedication to our dealers than gas the same type of questions as senator rubio. we deal with the needs on the individual basis. if the customer has a concern and then to replace the air bag understanding that we believe it is more priority to provide customer service we wanted to tell the dealers of the customer comes in with a concern. >> a dealer in senator students stayed of south dakota oracle which are - - or the senator's state that
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we are a mobile society. there are people in massachusetts and minnesota and south dakota that drive south and come to florida during all times of the year. >> especially j. gary when the kids are out of school also in the heat of the summer to do zero. is something missing? >> please try to understand into collective leaders of vehicles that we try our best to collect information. >> this morning's "new york times" says two former
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takata engineers they and employees have concerns to switch to a risky compound with the ammonium nitrate from the previous compound. it was a design flaw to propose it to break apart said the former senior engineer with takata at their propellant plant at lake washington. recently shared concerns from the senate staff members. it was a question and that came up of the ammonium nitrate compound went -- repellent within that blow up? working at the lake plant
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the answer was not if it stays in the right phase. now edition is the media reported problems that the takata plant and a secret air bag test in 2004 why didn't takata take action on these concerns regarding the use of ammonium nitrate? >> senator let me explain. ammonium nitrate as i said it in the beginning and has a benefit to the end users
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also. but it is the chemical properties that is sensitive to moisture is well-known. and they perform they could influence the characteristics. sova to read knowledge to stays stable and then during that process and also the
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environment. but to be under the control but to be stable and safe with some location as we did in the past. >> mr. shimizu i did not interrupt you to give you every opportunity to answer the question but that doesn't answer the question. if in fact, you knew about it as far back as 2001 and takata was doing secret air bag test with the muddy and nitrate -- ammonium nitrate
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to say what they said was the problem then dash -- senatos any further questions for the second round? >> mr. schostek until two days ago most of the recent actions related to defective drivers side airbags. the three had a four dash f caused by exploding takata airbags in oklahoma but that is it was applied to south dakota or minnesota or massachusetts could have been in that category.
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went past there we're told they were recalled with eight different takata problems years ago. and then when my staff put the vehicle aideed number fatalities to the honda recall database it says the air bags were repaired either your recall database is wrong or was replaced with another defective darr day llord day airbags still killed someone just a few years later. mr. schostek? which of these options is
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it? >> when we have multiple recalls this system would bring up of message those that were superseded the problems were being fixed report to nhtsa in this stage to have that technology problem. >> this etf family driving these vehicles. so somebody could look up the car they want to buy today they were told of repair was completed even though it was not?
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this just goes to whether or not the public should feel confident they have a family member driving these vehicles. >> guy degree. that could happen in today but i am bound indeterminate will not happen tomorrow or again. >> i will say mr. chairman does not make sense for the passenger air bag recall not to ochre otherwise of passengers are just in the back seat because it runs a huge risk that the very same that have deployed. >> gentlemen you need to know i will be meeting with secretary fox to impose the maximum penalty allowed by law even if it is $1 million
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per day on the automobile companies. if not providing a loader or rental car to those to potentially will be driving a death trap senators we need to move on to the next nhtsa%. >> one quick question. what is that maximum number of replacement parts you could provide per month? >> it is all provided with 300,000 per month increase in at 350,000 -- 450,000. >> that is the maximum?
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>> and what steps have you taken to improve the assembly of the container that senator nelson showed? to make that more leakproof or waterproof coming into it or humidity? >> already a couple steps we have taken is they are discussing a our car makers the current products if it comes out from the process
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the then to improve the robust. >> we will call up mr. david friedman the deputy administrator of the nhtsa. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] where is mr. friedman? >> welcome. have you heard the testimony in the answer room? >> yes i have. what we will do is for give the statement because of the lateness of the hour i will
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defer my questions. >> and another failure with the faulty takata air bags is the latest of the focus of multiple hearings but it's if you could shed some light why we see such a flood of automotive safety issues? to believe this experience indicates a broad and systematic problem in the automobile industry? >> because the auto industry is running scared they realize that teeeighteen has been pushing hard to establish a new normal with recalls to notify quickly
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and they are concerned about and they should be that congress has taken to shed light on serious problems in the auto industry and also reacting to the media attention. they are cleaning and of their closets because it took all the attention to do so. i asked 12 major auto makers for the need for a new normal. no more hiding behind attorney-client privilege or waiting until beyond a shadow of the dow there is a problem were no more fighting as was clear evidence. they need to act much more quickly and tsa tv ads to act more aggressively to
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keep them in line over the last six years was one of its $60 billion in fines. >> it closed its examination of the recalls involving takata driver's side air bags'' matt with insufficient information to suggest honda failed to make decisions on information provided '' what was that insufficient information knowing what you know, now should they have kept that open? >> we're still looking into the details of what happened in that that time. i should provide those going forward but to my current understanding is takata identified the batches involved with the manufacturing problems. put it has been made clear it doesn't have good quality control or record keeping
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because further down the road they have to update submissions that they had not provided us with that information. but all of these recalls we will go over that and if they fail to live up to is a lot we will hold them accountable to the fullest extent. one of the things we would like to see is a significant increase to hold them accountable right now we're limited to the $35 million for any infraction. for too many companies is pocket change. asking that to be increased at 300 million and if you give us that authority we
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will use it. >> bet that is the failure to discuss the information that could shed additional light on this? because you thought you satisfied all the questions that you had? it was the failure on alert your part? spirit 80 to provide that under oath. >> senator wilson and i are introducing legislation to incentivize individuals ford vehicle defects to blow the whistle. and if it leads to enforcement actions for the monetary sanctions it could
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receive up to 30%. is the concept that you can support. >> maybe they look forward to evaluating but one thing that would be crucial with such a proposal is to ensure we have the resources, the people and the dollar's follow-up. it with the consumer complaints it is critical to finding ways problems. 6,000 reports per year we need more people to get a follow-up. >> i agree you do need more resources. thanks to the senator to
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push forward. >> a key senator nelson. and from minnesota with that model because city your times report from 2004 now here you are. mr. friedman according to the family never received confirmation that the case is being reviewed. so filing in 2013 with teeeighteen if anybody reviewed the complaint, what happened? >> we are looking into this.
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the staff was alerted just this week. for everything that comes your highlight your web site that people mail in. we tried to piece together the information that it provides a and i will tell you exactly what happened. >> and how these have trickled out that is why we are concerned but but nhtsa this week has called for a recall that extended beyond the regional recall got people in minnesota who baby snowbirds who abandon us during the winter who spend the time in the southern states with their vehicles
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they drive down there and back so they are exposed for an extended amount of time to high humidity and they were not included in the regional recalls. they didn't think there was a need to include those types of vehicles. what changed? >> we can put up a couple of charts. this is a church dedicated states indicating then begin to point temperature the total amount of water in the air. all of the incidents that occurred in these regions which is even more committed. so we started with three complaints acting rapidly and connected the dots there's three different car
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companies and all three had air bags from takata that the role in the huge bet regis. we got them to recall within days so reacted aggressively based on the deprivation at that time. because we did not want to see anyone else heard, part of what we did was push the auto industry and said we cannot wait. of those test air bags to figure out is it up broader problem? now and has surveyed did that put the driver's side. >> additionally was three incidents i'm sorry, five
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incidents that were all in florida. initially reinforcing the this is a problem relating to explode - - exposure. >> were they all did florida or southern united states? >> then there was an incident in california. to make clear that contacted to extend the regional recall that at that point that could have been the allied air. at the end of last month we received a complaint from north carolina. reacted quickly and reached out to consumers and verify that it was the air bag rupture so now the pattern
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is broken. so now we have been incidents here and here. based on that information with all the automakers and fault are called to recall those vehicles. >> but the types of cars this is a bmw car ended his minders standing face sent a letter it was aware of the takata air bags under honda of it they said bmw were not affected. did this happen with other relief factures as well? >> i believe that is
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accurate. one thing that needs but to share the incidents all too often they keep said data. >> called all to washington and we have to figure out a way to -- there should be no barriers. >> agreed spirit we also talked about suppliers but at this time both but part of the concerns is that of industry and suppliers. >> got it. maybe it is something we can work on. thank you. >> senator markey your
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written testimony is an important part of the record. mr. friedman how can you justify calling for mandatory nationwide recall with this driver's side air bags to follow regional first of all, the regional recalls are not voluntary. period. the same letters that each car company is sending to all affected as consumers important safely this is a very clearly stated civic that wiry not making the
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same recalls of the past and -- passenger side air bags? because we did not want to be a position to wage not just the affected regions all over the country. >>. >> her sister died in her family about her sister in the ruined houses now in vehicles all across the country. wire the passenger side air bags the being recalled? vs. darr was driving a subaru with the takata air
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bag in the nonhuman states. when that issue that save recall order. >> i want to know what happened is an utter tragedy clearly would have been the to your sister. to determine if this was an air bag rupture that that could help other americans to protect themselves if there is data out there. that is why replenish the automaker's the challenge that we face is without information and requires us to act without a reasonable risk outside those areas to
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force automakers outside those areas. >> the way you are potentially doing is put someone's life at risk. >> echoes of 110 degrees in the summer. deck to be driven into southern california or texas or florida you know, it could be a used car. it just seems to me the agency should err on the side of safety know that they move from state to state as the chairman said people are going to florida
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from pretty much every state to escape the cold war to visit disney world. we know that and once they hit those conditions an accident could have been so widely recognized that mobile nature of our society? the danger that each person runs i don't except the fact there is the risk of early warm weather because we have other states here that are outside the human area with these incidents i just don't know why you say to all these families level already lost people his at the least another family member will suffer the same fate. >> that is my goal to put safety first if we have evidence that indicates they should be a national recall we will do that the right
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now the challenge is what you are asking me to do without iteration is put somebody's life at risk hearing is pushing takata. >> takata doesn't even support your recall. >> it is frustrating some of how can you trust the company when they don't even support your ever recall that it cannot give the affirmative answer? that is frightening from a company that is responsible for ensuring the danger of these air bags. err on the side of safety cemetery edible leaves the passenger side air bags are so dangerous it has told the dealers to disable them to warn passengers not to sit
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in the passenger seat. was real right to warn them in that manner? >> one of the previous issue's. the data indicates is 10 years. with a short period of time to face the same risk stemming cancer the toyota question before my time is up stomach you can drive a vehicle with no one in the passenger seat but even then if the air bag ruptures that driver is in danger there for disabling the air bag to put a label to not let anyone in the passenger seat to protect from the danger is there bad.
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>> the desire defective parts their broken parts. >> if you did approve that plan why did you tell other passenger sites to issue the same warning? >> these are broken parts. spee medicare is the letter that came from teeth to to make knowledge engineering to the national highway traffic administration of a safety recall conducted pursuant to federal law or of the products listed in the product that we are referring to is the air bag that is in discussion that as the interim measure the
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deal will disable the air bag devising a customer not use the front passenger's seat and tell the replacement is involved. >> then light and have the similar letter from every other of manufacturer to warn people love a pentathlon dash passenger side the catastrophe? finigan maybe confusion. it is called the recall the acknowledgement letter to acknowledge to them what they told us that is our way of holding them to the decisions they have made not our letter telling them what to do thus and pillaging their steps. >> it just says to me you
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seem detached of a decision made five of manufacturers of vehicles to have tremendous implications that has the same type of takata air bag. i don't understand you can process this and hold the manufacturer to the implicate -- implementation but not say this is the warning bell to go off that if toyota believes this is a dangerous then the others as well should have the same. so i just say from my perspective there is a higher responsibility as an agency. >> kit you will leave college because you heard the testimony today because the automobile manufacturers
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handle the recall in a different way which is all the more adding confusion. you heard chrysler say they will not start until the middle of december. and you have to have concerns whether the automakers are responding appropriately. >> we had to push chrysler before church salary production of parts to get the notice is out to consumers and i don't except there is any reason why they should wait to notify consumers about recalls. they need to know there is a risk with chrysler vehicles because of these air bags. >> can you find -- find them if they don't respond quickly for these air bags?
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civic we have authority to require the exhilarated remedy. if we determine they have to wills to put into place to provide a remedy more quickly then yes, we could require them to act we're in the process to determine that exact question we have already pushed with 300 those seven units per month. >> you have authority for that on a daily basis if they are not replacing the air bags? >> absolutely we can order them to accelerate their brevity. >> if that is a lethal death trap is of that evidence without getting the air bag replaced to stick it to the manufacturers with a severe
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financial penalty? >> made a standing is a requires us to demonstrate they could be doing more. we are contacting other suppliers to step up to supply more air bags. >> i don't want to beat up on you, but if you could meet corey from central florida, the father of two little boys, a firefighter who now has no ability because he does not have and i as a result of this shrapnels coming in his eye. then it would seem to me to give you though legal authority to replace those
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defective air bags. senator? >> mr. friedman thanks for being here today. and i take your comments about going after the lbo manufacturers to push them. about what about your responsibility? you have heard the head of takata say today the maximum they can commit to produce our 300,000 replacement parts per month. they help is to go 450,000 but they're unwilling to commit to anything more than 300,000 replacement parts per month. it will take three years even if they meet the 450,000 gold, the hope is to
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years. isn't that unacceptable? >> absolutely unacceptable. >> will you commit to use the power that you have under the motor vehicle safety act, to order that to use replacement parts from other makers said their banks. >> senator really use our ability. >> i don't want a state cancer but yes or no. this is a pretty clear question. you will use your authority to do the right saying but i want to know to recommend to the secretary of dissertation you will order the automobile manufacturers to use replacement parts even if it means takata sharing proprietary information with them so
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americans are kept safe on the roads and i was determined that could be done safely, absolutely. >> how long will that determination in make? they're asking them what their capacity or ability there may be test involved to ensure because each is to and for each car because of the propeller and a and air bag in we need to get all these people all that they say have been in the queue vacation to assess what if any capability those companies have for those replacement parts? view have the power to order them to break exclusivity
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agreements to share proprietary information i want to know when you will finish that determination? >> as soon as we can determine that it is safe to have to put the safety of those first and we will do something as quickly as possible with resources congress has provided us. >> would you agree with me but there is none of the federation? >> i cannot prejudge a case but right read it had demanded but i knew you had
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asked for this information under rose but when i was a prosecutor we had something called probable cause that is enough to indict. i know you don't have criminal authority but you do agree it is close to probable cause? you're not given the information you need to protect the public speesix i am not a lawyer but i don't choice that -- trust that takata has always provided with accurate information we know we don't get the information that we need we have serious concerns. >> as far as the information concerned the maximum penalty is in the range of
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$30 million. as had proposed the automaker accountability act that was with that $35 million cap. >> we will take that authority. >> we want that raise disconnect is that i yes? >> but me personally if you give me the authority to do more i will gladly accept that. >> don't you agree as the courage to administrator 35 million, 300 million is inadequate as this one where people have died as a result for failing to report sufficient information? >> the greater power we have
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to establish the new rebel too quickly act and an affirmation to never fight does when we provide data like the driver's side air bag it needs to have been nationwide. >> by the beginning of next week after consulting with the secretary how quickly you have a determination as to to provide these replacement parts and if you recommend to the secretary i hope it is measured in days, not weeks.
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the secretary of transportation shares our concerns very strongly about the american public and also acting to a point which we welcome. in one day by which you make a recommendation of replacement parts are accelerated from the motor vehicle safety act so americans could be provided the safety parts as quickly as possible otherwise we will be reading -- waiting over two years for americans to be safe on the roads with
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the air bags in their cars. if there are no parts to replace them. thank-you. >> i agree you don't have the resources your little agencies. and i feel sorry for your successor who is now named by the president because says he goes through the confirmation process there will be a lot of questions with regard to a the conduct of the agency going forward. the amount of vehicles with teeeight 20 airbags world wide senator is 100 million in united states it is like 30 million.
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this could be of gargantuan proportions that needs the aggressiveness of the federal regulator to protect the public. we appreciate the hot seat that you are on. i will be visited with your boss for the secretary to station to start socking it to the folks that are dragging their feet to answer questions with financial penalties that he has under lot then will try to change the law to eliminate that cap. thanks to everybody for participating. and let me say the record will remain open for 10 days and all witnesses are expected to answer any and
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all questions for the record for the members of this committee said in a guy apologized can i say one more thing? >> of course, . teeeighteen is an agency of people who wake up every day with nearly 100 reminders of how we need more resources to work harder to protect the american public because every day 100 people died on our roads because of drunk driving distracted driving or vehicle defects. each hour we come to work with over 2,000 reminders of people injured for the need for more resources to improve to save people's lives that is what every teeeighteen employe and rededicate ourselves we will work aggressively in this
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case i welcome your support in the added resources real act aggressively to protect the american public's panic mr. friedman we appreciate that and the dedication of the federal employees who often are not given that appreciation. on behalf of the committee i express that. we now have a new problem that we are addressing which is a live hand grenade in front of a driver and passenger with the vehicles that are enumerated. and with that, thank you. the meeting is adjourned. . .
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>> author evan osnos was recognized for his non-fiction work "age of ambition: chasing fortune, truth, and faith in the new china" and earlier this year he discussed the book on q&a.


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