Justice Department Should Consider Criminal Charges Against Takata

Nov 08, 2014

Senator McCaskill, Chairman of Senate’s Consumer Protection panel, responds to reports that manufacturer knowingly withheld information on airbag defect that could have saved lives


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, Chairman of the Senate’s panel on Consumer Protection, today released the following statement on news reports that Japanese manufacturer Takata knowingly hid safety defects in its airbags from safety regulators—information that may have saved lives:


If these reports are true, they show a company more concerned with profits than the lives of consumers—a company that needs to be held fully accountable, not just with financial penalties, but also with criminal charges. I trust that safety regulators and Justice Department officials are looking closely at these accusations and considering every tool available under the law.


According to reports, Takata employees conducted tests on airbags a decade ago and identified safety problems, which were subsequently covered up by company leadership. Currently, more than 14 million vehicles have been recalled due to airbag rupture risks, with four deaths being tied to the defect.


Earlier this year, McCaskill led the Senate’s investigation into recent recalls at General Motors. McCaskill led three Senate hearings into issues surrounding 2.6 million vehicles recalled for defective ignition switches that have been linked to a number of deaths, and also held a hearing on bipartisan rental car safety that she has introduced.