More than a decade after dangerous airbags began causing injuries and deaths across the country, the federal government is looking at what appears to be a similar defect in some 52 million more safety devices made by a different manufacturer.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently signaled it is on the verge of recalling the airbags manufactured by ARC Automotive Inc. and Delphi Automotive Systems.
NHTSA announced its initial determination that the airbags are defective and pose a serious safety risk. Inflators inside the safety devices could explode, sending shrapnel hurling at drivers and passengers and potentially leading to crashes.
“These airbag inflators may rupture when the vehicle’s airbag is commanded to deploy, causing metal debris to be forcefully ejected into the passenger compartment of the vehicle,” NHTSA said in a notice announcing the initial determination. “A rupturing airbag inflator poses an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death to vehicle occupants.”
At least seven people have been injured and another person was killed in collisions stemming from the malfunctioning airbags, according to NHTSA
Several major carmakers use the airbags for their vehicles, The New York Times reports. The list includes Ford, General Motors, Stellantis, Toyota, Volkswagen, Tesla, BMW, Hyundai, Kia, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.
ARC produced roughly 79 percent of the 52 million airbags expected to be included in the recall, with Delphi manufacturing the remaining 21 percent. The airbags were produced in China, Mexico and Knoxville, Tenn. over the course of two decades from 2000 to 2018.
NHTSA’s latest move appears to stem from a similar defect that sparked a massive recall of airbags produced by Japanese manufacturer Takata. Roughly 100 million defective Takata airbags have been recalled around the world in the last 10 years.
At least 25 deaths have been tied to the Takata airbags. Vehicles with the defective airbags are still lurking on roads and used car dealership lots across the country. Millions of defective airbags have not been fixed in the U.S. alone, according to data from NHTSA.
California Car Owners’ Legal Rights
Whether it is shoddy airbags or a wide range of other defects, malfunctioning vehicles far too commonly hit the road and put everyone at risk.
Fortunately, car owners in California do not need to wait around for recalls to get defective vehicles fixed. They have some valuable rights and protections under the state’s lemon law.
The law generally requires carmakers to perform a wide range of repairs on vehicles while they are under warranty. It also forces the companies to buy back vehicles that they are unable or simply refuse to fix.
Talk with a California Lemon Law Attorney
California car owners and lessors have some important rights and protections under the state’s lemon law. You do not need to wait for a recall to get a defective vehicle fixed.
If you have been stuck with a defective or malfunctioning vehicle, a California lemon law attorney at Bickel Sannipoli APC can help you fight back.