U.S. government calls for immediate recall of airbag inflators from automakers

by The Insights

More than 67 million airbag inflators could be recalled(opens in a new tab) due to safety concerns, following the results of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation into suspected safety issues. The report prompted the US government agency to urge the manufacturer to issue an immediate recall.


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“While incidents are rare, the incidents that have occurred have been serious, prompting the agency to issue a recall request,” NHTSA spokeswoman Veronica Morales wrote in a statement.(opens in a new tab) reported by CNN. “NHTSA is taking this action under its authority to investigate potential defects and oversee recalls as required by the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. »

The investigation focused on safety bag inflators manufactured by ARC Automotive, Inc. of Knoxville, Tennessee.(opens in a new tab) during an 18-year inspection period before January 2018, Engadget reported. The airbag inflators were supplied to six airbag manufacturers, which were then integrated into vehicles by at least 12 car manufacturers. The agency has yet to note which automakers, in particular.

The NHTSA investigation was prompted by at least nine cases of airbags violently rupturing and emitting metal fragments into the vehicle, resulting in one known fatality. GM has already issued a recall on one million vehicles(opens in a new tab) (including the 2014-2017 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia) in response to the investigation and an accident involving a ruptured driver’s airbag inflator in one of its vehicles.

But in response to a letter from NHTSA, ARC challenged the agency’s findings and its request for a recall, writing, “We disagree with NHTSA’s sweeping new request when extensive testing in the field found no inherent flaws.” Additionally, the company’s vice president for product integrity, Steve Gold, wrote in a response that “the test program has demonstrated with 99% reliability and 99% confidence that the inflators of the population concerned would unfold without breaking.” According to the ARC, the aforementioned incidents were the result of “one-time” faults that have already been corrected by their respective automakers.

Other airbag recalls have already rocked the market, following global safety concerns. Since 2016, more than 67 million airbags from Japanese manufacturer Takata have been recalled in the United States, and another 100 million worldwide.

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