Japanese airbag maker goes before Senate committee

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The pressure is mounting for Japanese airbag maker Takata as they sat in a Senate committee hearing Thursday.

The pressure mounts for Takata. On Thursday a top official for the Japanese airbag maker went before a Senate committee. 7 On Your Side has been following all the developments.

The vice president of Takata told lawmakers he does not believe a nationwide recall of the company's product is necessary. A victim seriously injured by one of Takata's airbags also testified.

"My vision will never be the same. I will never be the same," Stephanie Erdman, a victim of an airbag injury, said.

There were painful memories on Capitol Hill from a woman seriously injured when the airbag in her Honda exploded, embedding shrapnel in her face.

"I ask the committee to do everything in its power to make sure every vehicle with the defective airbags is made safe," Erdman said.

For the first time, a top executive from the Japanese airbag maker Takata answered questions about the potentially deadly airbags.

"We are deeply sorry about each of the reported instances in which a Takata airbag has not performed as designed. And our airbags are helping to save lives and prevent injuries on the road every day," Hiroshi Shimizu, Takata's senior vice president of global quality assurance, said.

But despite those assurances, senators made clear that the problem must be fixed.

"The very device that is supposed to save lives becomes a device that is taking lives," Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, said.

Lawmakers and other experts say that when the Takata airbag inflators explode, they can potentially send shrapnel through the bag and into the driver. But so far, Takata is unwilling to expand the recall. Lawmakers also want to know how long Takata knew internally about the potential problems before they became public.

"Companies are more focused on defending against private litigation than promoting safety," Sen. Claire Mccaskill, D-Missouri, said.

So far, more than eight million cars have been recalled in the U.S. because of the defective airbags.
Related Topics:
automotiveauto recallrecallhondabusiness7 On Your Sidesenatesafetyroad safetydrivingWashington DC
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