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Airbag defect investigation expands to include 12.3 million vehicles

A recent investigation has lead to the discovery of potential defects in airbags installed in 12.3 million vehicles made by Kia, Fiat Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, Honda, and Toyota. The ZF-TRW manufactured airbag, according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), could fail to deploy during a crash, and vehicles with the model years 2010 to 2019 may be affected.

Unfortunately, defective airbags have been an on-going issue in the auto industry for years. In 2016, Fiat Chrysler had a similar recall with the same airbag unit, recalling about 1.9 vehicles worldwide, while Hyundai and Kia recalled nearly 1.1 million vehicles in 2018. According to the NHTSA, almost 70 million airbag inflators are to be recalled by the end of 2020.

The executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, Jason Levine, is pleased that the NHTSA is expanding their investigation, as they are now looking at six different automakers. With that said, individuals are still discouraged by the lack of lessons learned by the auto industry. Issues with defective airbags have claimed many lives and been the cause of many deaths nationwide for decades. This particular investigation has identified one fatality in a Toyota Corolla and could be responsible for as many as eight deaths, according to the Associated Press.

In order to permanently fix this fatal issue, the NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation document states that regulators will examine the ZF-TRW airbag control units to see what exactly is disabling the airbags. According to the investigation, a signal failure in an electrical component of the bag’s control unit could be causing the bag’s failure to deploy. In addition to this, regulators will be evaluating whether other unreasonable risks exist that would require further action. ZF North America spokesman Tony Sapienza claims the company is committed to vehicle safety and would cooperate with investigators. He also stated that they are working diligently with federal regulators and automakers to fix the issue head-on.

An airbag is a device designed to keep us safe when driving in a vehicle, however, when they fail to work properly, they can do more harm than good. Although consumer protections are in place from the federal government which requires manufacturers to meet certain standards, this does not mean that all products are free of defects. If you or a loved one has suffered from an injury due to a defective airbag, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the product liability attorneys at Spiros Law, P.C. at (815) 929-9292 to discuss your unique situation today.