NHTSA Steps in as Company Refuses to Recall Potentially Deadly Airbag Inflators

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has scheduled a public hearing in response to ARC Automotive’s refusal to recall 52 million defective inflators, which have been the cause of several injuries and deaths.

52 Million Airbag Inflators Could Eject Metal at Drivers and Passengers, Potentially Putting Millions of Lives at Risk

According to Associated Press, NHTSA reports indicate the ARC airbag inflators suffer from a defect that can cause them to rupture when inflating, ejecting metal particles into the passenger compartment.

NHTSA states ARC airbag inflators are responsible for at least seven injuries and two deaths in the U.S. and Canada since 2009. One of the incidents involved a 40-year-old mother of ten who was struck by metal fragments when her 2015 Chevrolet Traverse SUV’s inflators exploded during a minor crash in 2021.

While ARC Automotive did add a safety feature that reduces the possibility of airbag rupture in 2018, there are still tens of millions of vehicles on the road with the pre-2018 design.

An NHTSA spokesperson did warn that if action is not taken, “A rupturing air bag inflator poses an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death to vehicle occupants.”

NHTSA reports that incidents of airbag ruptures have occurred in vehicles made by Chrysler, Kia, GM, and Audi. In addition, remedial efforts have been made by BMW, Ford, GM, and Volkswagen, including a recall for one million vehicles by GM.

NHTSA Calls a Public Hearing to Decide the Next Plan of Action Amidst ARC Refusing Recalls

Despite urging by NHTSA, ARC Automotive has, to date, refused to issue a recall for the inflators. This has led NHTSA to schedule a public hearing on October 5th before deciding to seek a court-ordered recall against ARC Automotive.

In a May 11th letter to NHTSA, ARC noted that while it did agree with GM’s decision to issue a recall for “potential concerns” about the inflators, the company would not comply with NHTSA’s demand for a full recall.

ARC claimed that NHTSA’s investigation into the defect was “not based upon any objective technical or engineering conclusion”, though the company did seem to acknowledge the incidents NHTSA cited in their reports.

The company further argued that the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act “does not require vehicles and equipment to never experience a failure in the field. Rather the Safety Act seeks to protect the public against unreasonable risks.”

The agency has responded to claims against ARC, stating inflators that rupture, propelling metal fragments at high velocity cannot be dismissed as a normal manufacturing anomaly. Leaving vehicle owners uninformed about the potential risks poses a significant safety hazard to these passengers.

Contact an Experienced Airbag Recall Attorney

If you or a loved one have been injured by a defective and dangerous ARC airbag, call Thomas J. Henry today. Our attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your claim and provide you with a free legal consultation. Our firm has offices in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Austin, Houston, and Dallas, serving clients across Texas and nationwide.


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