WASHINGTON -- Senators' frustration with what they see as an inconsistent and disorganized response to the Takata airbag recall crisis boiled over last week, signaling a push for more auto safety regulations.
"These airbags failed, but the system failed equally, if not more," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., at a contentious Senate Commerce Committee hearing.
A Honda executive admitted that his company failed to deliver a recall notice to a driver who was badly injured in her right eye and neck by an exploding inflator made by Takata Corp.
Rick Schostek, executive vice president of Honda North America, also said Honda failed to follow all procedures of the TREAD Act, the 2000 legislation that overhauled auto recall procedures after the Ford-Firestone tire crisis.
A top Takata quality executive said the supplier still makes airbag inflators with ammonium nitrate, an admission that Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., called "very concerning." The compound can become unstable when exposed to humidity.
It all adds up to increased pressure from Washington to protect consumers with more regulation. But with anti-regulation Republicans in control of the Senate and House next year, it's uncertain what might become law.