NHTSA Expands Airbag Investigation into Alleged Defective Computer Control Systems


June 25, 2013

While airbags are a vital form of motor vehicle safety equipment, the number of recent recalls involving both domestic and foreign auto manufacturers has become alarming.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has added 320,000 Honda Odyssey minivans to its ever-expanding probe of defective airbags.  The scope of the investigation now includes three auto manufacturers and more than two million vehicles.

The NHTSA has indicated that the concern has been raised because there is evidence that the front airbags in Odyssey minivans manufactured during 2003 and 2004 can inflate even though the vehicle has not been involved in a collision.  The federal vehicle safety regulators have reported that the vehicles have been added to the airbag defect probe involving the same computers that control the airbag system employed in the 1.8 million Chrysler and Toyota vehicles recently recalled worldwide.  According to the NHTSA, the potentially defective computers were purportedly manufactured by TRW Automotive, Inc.

The NHTSA is investigating to determine whether the extent of the problem in the minivans justifies a recall.  There have been six consumers that report their airbag inflated although they were not involved in a collision, with three of the deployments causing injury.  The federal agency also has indicated that there have been more than forty other reports of the warning light for the airbag being activated.  In the most serious incident to date involving the Odyssey years under investigation, an airbag deployed into the face of a driver while she was parked.  The driver had her iPad, which was resting on the steering column, slammed into her face causing cuts requiring stitches to her lip and the repair of broken teeth.

Because airbags deploy at a high rate of speed, the force of impact from an airbag can cause devastating injuries including broken bones, fractures, blindness, traumatic head injuries and even fatalities.  The computer is the “brain” of the airbag system that receives input from sensors located throughout the vehicle that coordinate if and when to deploy an airbag.  When airbags are defective and deploy at the wrong time, the airbag may deploy into a vehicle occupant and cause serious injury.  Similarly, the airbag may deploy into a vehicle occupant when there is no collision and inflict permanent injury because the occupant makes contact with the airbag as it is still being deployed.

If you are injured because an airbag deploys prematurely, unnecessarily, late or not at all, you may have a legal right to seek financial compensation for your injuries from the vehicle manufacturer and retailer as well as the maker of the defective component part.  Our Atlanta personal injury lawyers at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.  No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.

Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333).  You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.