ATLANTA — Disturbing reports reveal that certain airbags designed to protect individuals during car accidents are instead exploding and causing injuries. Despite federal regulators urging a recall, the company responsible for manufacturing these airbag inflators, ARC, is refusing to comply, raising concerns about public safety.
Typically, during a recall, affected individuals can easily determine if their vehicles are impacted by checking the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) database. However, the issue with these ARC inflators is that millions of them are in circulation, and it is currently unknown which vehicles they are installed in.
Attorney Andrew Parker Felix from Morgan and Morgan shared distressing images of his client, a Michigan woman who suffered injuries attributed to one of these airbags. Felix described her injuries as catastrophic, with doctors having to remove shrapnel from her neck. Even now, she relies on a tracheotomy tube for breathing due to the March incident, which resulted from the faulty airbag inflator. Her jaw was destroyed, and she lost multiple teeth.
The NHTSA recently sent a letter to ARC requesting a voluntary recall of 67 million ARC inflators, citing the “unreasonable risk of death or injury” associated with these airbags, which are designed to save lives when functioning correctly. However, ARC has refused to initiate the recall, responding to the NHTSA by stating that the reported seven incidents do not indicate a widespread and systemic defect.
According to the NHTSA, there have been two deaths and at least seven injuries linked to these ARC inflators. The issue lies in a manufacturing defect, where excess debris blocks the inflator, creating a situation where the pressurized gas cannot escape and becomes a potential explosive hazard, akin to a bomb.
The Center for Auto Safety’s Michael Brooks explained that the ARC inflators cause the same explosive events and injuries as the infamous Takata airbag defect that led to a massive global recall. While it is known that at least 12 vehicle manufacturers utilize ARC inflators, the specific car makes and models potentially affected by this defect remain undisclosed, as manufacturers guard this confidential information.
With ARC refusing to recall the inflators, the NHTSA’s next step involves issuing a final report, which could lead to legal action against ARC and the enforcement of a recall. Some automakers have proactively initiated their own recalls, as seen recently with GM recalling approximately 1 million vehicles equipped with ARC components, including the Chevy Traverse model involved in the aforementioned incident.
The situation calls for continued vigilance from regulatory bodies, consumer advocacy groups, and affected individuals themselves. It is crucial to stay informed, follow updates from the NHTSA, and take appropriate measures if there is a suspicion of having a potentially defective airbag inflator in one’s vehicle. Source