The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has appointed John D. Buretta, a former principal deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice Criminal Division, to serve as independent monitor in the Takata air bag recalls.

Buretta will assist the federal agency in providing oversight of both the coordinated recall remedy program and Takata’s consent order compliance, NHTSA said. The recalls affect approximately 19 million vehicles in the U.S.

Buretta will “play a significant role in helping oversee Takata’s compliance with its obligations under NHTSA enforcement orders, and in implementing the Coordinated Remedy Program to accelerate and prioritize the largest, most complex consumer safety effort in U.S. history,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind.

Buretta is currently a partner of the law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore, which maintains offices in New York and London.

NHTSA also announced that an eighth fatality in the U.S. has been tied to Takata air bag inflator ruptures. “Although yet to be confirmed by the manufacturer, the incident involved a model year 2001 vehicle that spent most of its service life in the high absolute humidity region and had been under recall for many years,” NHTSA said in a press release. Worldwide, this is the ninth death linked to Takata air bag inflator ruptures.

Photo courtesy of NHTSA.

Photo courtesy of NHTSA.

The pace of the Takata air bag recalls is accelerating, NHTSA said. In the two-week period ending Dec. 4, more than 950,000 vehicles were repaired. However, three automakers – Mazda, Honda and Subaru – recently revised their Takata passenger air bag inflator recalls to include more vehicles.

“The expansions are the result of Takata ballistic testing conducted over recent months,” NHTSA said.

Vehicles affected by revised passenger air bag recalls include:

  • 2005-2008 Mazda Mazda6
  • 2002-2004 Honda CR-V
  • 2005-2008 Subaru Legacy and Outback.

To access an updated list of makes, models and model years affected by the Takata air bag recalls, you can click here. 

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet