The Takata airbag scandal has dominated the automotive industry since the beginning several years ago. Several million vehicles have been recalled and more are expected before completion later this year. The issue is when the airbag deploys. The chemical used to cause the explosion deploying the airbag can deteriorate, which causes the explosion to be too forceful, sending deadly shrapnel flying through the vehicle. So far, twenty-four people worldwide have been killed by these defective airbags. Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating several vehicles for having non-deploying airbags, as Car and Driver reports.
This investigation is not related to the Takata airbag recalls.
Records indicate that as many as eight people have already been killed in accidents where their vehicle’s airbag did not deploy. The NHTSA is investigating.
The investigation involves airbag control units that have been manufactured by ZF-TRW and were installed into as many as 12.3 million late-model cars.
The ongoing investigation of two accidents which involved 2018 and 2019 Toyota vehicles found that the airbags failed to deploy. One person was killed in the crashes, which prompted the NHTSA to begin gathering information from all auto manufacturers who installed these particular airbag computers on their vehicles.
The model years run from 2010 to 2019 and the automakers include Fiat Chrysler, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi, and Toyota. The electrical signals passing between the crash sensors and the airbag control unit can overload the control unit, which causes the airbag not to deploy. Front and side airbags are affected.
Since the investigation opened in March 2018, the NHTSA found that certain automakers utilize levels of signal protection to prevent this from happening. Hyundai and Kia have since recalled more than 1 million cars that have the least amount of signal protection. Fiat Chrysler recalled 1.4 million cars for the same problem in 2016.
At this point, this is just an NHTSA investigation. No mandatory recalls from the agency have been issued.
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