Last week, Hyundai filed documents with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recalling 155,000 2011 Sonata vehicles for defective airbags. Hyundai said it was aware of four “incidents” involving the defect, but the recall documents made no mention of deaths or injuries.
However, in documents posted on NHTSA’s website on Saturday, the agency revealed that it had received reports of six front-end crashes involving the recalled vehicles, resulting in four deaths and six injuries.
Additionally, NHTSA announced that an estimated 425,000 vehicles could be affected by the defect, not just the 155,000 Sonatas recalled by Hyundai, and added 2012 and 2013 Kia Forte compacts to their probe. The airbag failures have been traced back to electrical circuit shorts in airbag control computers made by parts supplier ZF-TFW.
NHTSA says all six crashes it is currently investigating occurred between 2012 and 2017, with four of the crashes involving Sonatas and two involving Fortes. Hyundai has admitted that airbag control circuitry was damaged in three crashes while the fourth crash remains under investigation.
This is not the first time Hyundai and Kia have faced an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In May of last year, NHTSA opened probes to investigate whether Hyundai and Kia had acted quickly enough to recall more than 1.6 million cars and SUVs prone to engine stalls.
NHTSA noted that such a failure can drastically increase the risk of crash, posing a significant hazard to owners and other motorists.
That investigation is still pending, and the agency is also investigating whether the automakers followed safety reporting requirements.
Over the past decade, there have been multiple widespread recalls on vehicles containing defective and dangerous airbags.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to a defective or faulty airbag, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our experienced vehicle recall lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to provide you with a free case review. If an airbag or vehicle manufacturer’s negligence caused your airbag injury, you may be entitled to recover damages to cover medical costs, pain and suffering, and lost wages.