General Motors Company has announced a safety recall for nearly 4.3 million vehicles worldwide due to a software issue that can prevent airbags from deploying in the event of a crash. According to a Reuters news report, this is a vehicle defect that has already been linked to one death and three injuries. The automaker said the sensing and diagnostic module that controls airbag deployment has a software flaw that may prevent the deployment of frontal airbags during a crash.
This recall includes cars, trucks and SUVs from the 2014 to 2017 model years. It includes some newer models of the Buick LaCrosse, Chevy Corvette, Silverado 1500, Chevy Tahoe, Suburban and Silverado HD and Cadillac Escalade. A notice posted by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that certain driving conditions might cause the software to activate a diagnostic test, which would prevent the airbags from deploying in the event of a crash.
Problem with Airbags and Seatbelts
In May, GM received a report of a crash involving a 2014 Chevy Silverado truck in which the driver’s frontal airbag and seatbelt equipment called “pretensioners” did not deploy. The job of pretensioners is to tighten up any slack in the seatbelt webbing when a crash occurs to work in tandem with the airbags. GM initiated an investigation into the issue in June and conducted road testing in August before deciding on a recall. When the recall begins, dealers will update the vehicles’ software to prevent the problem in the future.
This is not the first airbag issue GM has faced in recent times. In 2014, the automaker recalled about 2.6 million vehicles for an ignition switch defect that prevented airbags from deploying in some crashes. Earlier this year, GM also recalled 2.5 million vehicles for defective Takata airbag inflators that have been linked to 10 fatalities and several injuries as well.
Potentially Deadly Defects
We count on airbags and seatbelts to protect us in the event of a serious crash. But when these critical safety devices fail during a crash, the consequences can be devastating. Vehicle occupants who are unprotected are at risk of suffering injuries such as brain and spinal cord trauma, multiple fractures and internal injuries.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash as a result of defective vehicles or vehicle parts, you may be entitled to receive compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced auto defect lawyer can help injured victims and their families better understand their legal rights and options.