Automakers may recall as many as 400,000 vehicles that have Autoliv Inc. seatbelt and airbag parts worldwide. According to a Reuters news report, the Swedish auto safety parts maker’s products are in 1,300 vehicle models around the world. The company has not specified which automakers would be affected. So far, no crashes or injuries have been reported in the two separate issues (seatbelt and airbag defects) Autoliv has reported to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Faulty Parts Pose Dangers
Company officials said there are possible glitches in its widely used seatbelt pretensioners, which basically work to tighten seatbelts to better secure a driver or a passenger. There are also problems with a product that initiates the process of inflating an airbag. The faulty seatbelt parts could affect about 267,000 vehicles. In the event of a crash, a small part called a micro gas generator that is used in seatbelt pretensioners could detach and become airborne like a projectile within the vehicle cabin. These potentially faulty seatbelt parts were made between April 10 and October 15.
In a separate filing, Autoliv told NHTSA that airbag and seatbelt initiators might not work in as many as 114,000 vehicles. These parts not only initiate the process to activate seatbelt pretensioners, but also to deploy airbags. The parts involved in the airbag issue were made from July 16 to Nov. 4. Autoliv said it is working with its automaker customers to determine which vehicles have the potentially defective seatbelt or airbag parts. The problems were reportedly noticed during internal testing.
Auto Product Liability Issues
Seatbelts and airbags are key safety components in a vehicle. When one of these components is defective and fails to protect occupants in the event of a car accident, the consequences could be devastating. When seat restraint systems don’t secure occupants, for example, they could get thrown inside the vehicle and suffer blunt force trauma, or they could get ejected from the vehicle and suffer catastrophic or even fatal injuries.
When an airbag fails to deploy at the time of a crash, vehicle occupants are at risk of severe or fatal injuries. If a defective vehicle part caused or contributed to your injuries, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries and damages. In such cases, victims can file what is known as a product liability claim against the manufacturer of a defective product. An experienced auto defect lawyer can help injured victims and their families better understand their legal rights and options.