The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating reports that millions of airbags were defectively made, and may not inflate in a car accident.
The investigation comes on the heels of the infamous and widespread Takata airbag recalls, which implicated more than 40 million vehicles.
Airbags Failing to Deploy in Car Accidents
The company ZF-TRW makes airbags and sells them to other automakers to install in their vehicles. Some of those airbags, however, have been found to use faulty crash sensors. These sensors are supposed to get triggered the instant the car hits something with sufficient force, and are supposed to set off the airbag and tighten the seatbelts.
However, numerous crashes have happened involving the vehicles that have ZF-TRW’s airbags where the airbags did not deploy. Investigations into those crashes found that the sensors were to blame, apparently because they were overloaded by electrical signals caused by the force of the collision.
Initial reports suggest that as many as 8 people have died in car crashes because of the problem.
NHTSA Announces Investigation Into Defective Airbags
Now, the federal NHTSA is looking into the problem, and have singled out 12.3 million vehicles that could have the airbag sensor problem. These cars are from model years 2010 through 2019 by the following companies:
- Fiat Chrysler
The investigation, which is being conducted by NHTSA’s Office of Defects, began as a “preliminary evaluation” of the problem. However, it was recently upgraded to an “engineering analysis,” which suggests that full recalls could be in the future.
Airbag Defects Call Takata’s Recalls to Mind
The news comes barely a year after Takata’s airbag problem surfaced and quickly expanded to include 42 million cars. Those airbags had been defective because the inflator was prone to bursting, which would send metal shrapnel into the car and also shred the airbag, rendering it useless. The problems even managed to trickle down into the used car market, and led to guilty pleas on fraud charges.
However, claims that the auto industry learned nothing from the Takata recalls miss an important point: The new airbag problems were installed during the same time period as Takata’s defective airbag inflators, not after Takata’s defects came to light. We are not seeing one company ignoring the lessons learned by another. Instead, we are seeing just another company cutting corners with its safety products and getting caught at it.
St. Joseph Car Accident Lawyers at the Smith Law Office
Car accidents can happen in a variety of ways. In some cases, the injuries are not caused by either driver – they happen because the vehicle was poorly designed or manufactured. While these lawsuits involve the complex field of products liability law, the personal injury attorneys at the Smith Law Office in St. Joseph can still help you recover the compensation that you need and deserve.
Contact them online or call their law office at (816) 875-9373.