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NHTSA Expands Defective Airbag Investigation

By Brian Chase on June 14, 2013 - No comments

 Honda 2003-04 Odyssey models are being investigated by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for potentially defective airbags. According to an NBC news report, the auto safety agency opened an investigation into 320,000 Honda minivans to determine if they should be recalled for airbags that deploy suddenly without warning. So far, officials have received six complaints from owners of 2003-04 Odyssey minivans, three of whom reported injuries due to airbags that suddenly deployed while the vehicles were in operation. NHTSA has received 41 consumer complaints alleging that the vehicle’s airbag warning light illuminated.

 Expanded Airbag Problems

Several other automakers are also dealing with airbag problems including Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Chrysler, General Motors and BMW.  NHTSA’s investigation involving General Motors includes 400,000 cars including models such as Chevy Camaro, Chevy Cruze, Buick Verano and Chevy Sonic, all from the 2012 model year. In these vehicles, the potential defect involves a shorting bar that may sometimes come into contact with airbag terminals. In the case of the GM vehicles, the driver’s side airbags may not deploy during a crash. General Motors had already issued two recalls to handle this specific airbag issue.

The first of those recalls was issued in October, which affected 2,949 vehicles. The automaker expanded on that recall in January, recalling an additional 3,896 vehicles. NHTSA officials are now questioning whether the scope of those recalls has been sufficient. GM is also sparring with NHTSA over recalling more than a million of its Jeep SUVs due to defective design of its fuel tanks, which has resulted in many fires and even fatalities. While the government has said that these design defects warrants a safety recall, GM has issued a statement saying that the NHTSA’s conclusions are false.

 Dangerous and Defective Airbags

Earlier this year, millions of vehicles that had airbags manufactured by Takata Corp. a major worldwide airbag company that supplies to a number of automakers, were recalled due to defects. Many safety advocates have expressed deep concerns over the reliance of automakers on a single source for parts. Although they benefit from low pricing due to economy of scale, these quality issues may become problematic over time.

Airbags are crucial safety features in our vehicles, which can be life saving in the event of a crash. When airbags fail to deploy during a crash, the vehicle’s occupants may suffer major injuries. Similarly, when airbags deploy suddenly, occupants could become injured or the driver could end up crashing the vehicle.

Anyone who is injured by a defective airbag or any defective auto product would be well advised to contact an experienced auto product defect lawyer who will ensure that they are fairly and fully compensated for their losses. It is also important that the crashed vehicle is preserved for a thorough examination by an expert who can look for evidence of defects, malfunctions or design flaws.


Posted in: Defective Products

About the Author: Brian Chase

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