The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened a preliminary evaluation into the Subaru Forester after getting multiple complaints about the vehicle’s malfunctioning airbag sensor. According to a news report, in total, NHTSA has received 51 complaints so far. Currently, this investigation covers 553,692 Foresters from the 2016 to 2018 model years although it is only an estimated number so far.
Complaints to NHTSA
The NHTSA document states that owners have complained about the occupant detection system failing to turn on the front-passenger airbag when the seat is occupied. Further, the document included reports of the SRS right illuminating in the dashboard. When an airbag fails to deploy in the event of a crash, there is an increased risk of injury.
NHTSA says they haven’t received any reports of crashes, fires, injuries or deaths involving the alleged problem. It is not clear if Subaru has received any reports. The Forester is one of Subaru’s most popular models in the US, and just last month, the automaker said it sold its two-millionth Forester in the country.
Defects and Liability Issues
Airbags are meant to protect vehicle occupants, for example, by shielding an occupant’s head from slamming into the steering wheel, side window, dashboard or windshield. A properly working airbag can save your life or help prevent catastrophic injuries such as a traumatic brain injury. A defective airbag, however, can end up doing more harm than good. Sometimes, malfunctioning sensors could prevent an airbag from deploying in the event of a crash. This could cause major injuries or even fatalities. In other cases, defective airbags could randomly deploy resulting in head trauma, broken bones and an elevated risk of crashes because of the suddenly reduced visibility.
Auto manufacturers who are responsible for manufacturing defective auto parts or automobiles may be held accountable for their negligence. An experienced auto defect lawyer who has had a successful track record of holding negligent automakers liable will be able to advise injured victims and their families in such cases. It is important after an auto accident to preserve the vehicle in its current condition unaltered so an expert can examine it thoroughly for defects, malfunctions and other evidence.