The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is looking at older Mazda crossovers that were recalled for faulty Takata airbags that may now have defective side curtain airbags for all three rows of seats. According to a report on Car and Driver, NHTSA says it knows of at least two instances in which the head-protecting side curtain airbags on CX-9 models have deployed randomly without a crash while the vehicles were moving.
Four Injuries Reported
The most recent incident occurred in Louisiana in December where both curtain airbags deployed on the highway and injured four passengers. Another double deployment occurred in August 2016 in New York where the airbags deployed randomly. However, no one was injured in that instance.
Since the investigation was opened a week ago, NHTSA has not yet shared Mazda’s report of accidental airbag deployments in these vehicles. The investigation includes all 2010-2013 CX-9 models. The curtain airbag supplier was not named in the agency’s report. NHTSA officials say this problem is not linked to the Takata airbag recall.
Accidental Airbag Deployment
When airbags deploy randomly, the consequences can be devastating. This is a dangerous issue that has led to recalls of more than 9 million vehicles just in the last four years. The explosive force of a single airbag and the sound that accompanies such deployment can shock the driver into a real accident. This is especially true if both side curtain airbags deploy and block the side windows entirely. These types of random deployments are usually caused by faulty crash sensors, airbag computers, wiring harnesses or a combination thereof.
When an airbag deploys with tremendous force, vehicle occupants may suffer injuries such as fractured ribs and facial injuries. Sometimes, when airbags deploy, sharp pieces of plastic and metal may get discharged into the vehicle’s compartment, which may also cause serious injuries.
Product Liability Issues
If you have been injured as a result of a defective vehicle part, you may be eligible to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitative treatment, permanent injuries and pain and suffering. An experienced auto product liability attorney who has handled similar cases will be able to guide victims and their families through what could be a complex process.