Company Says It Cannot Eliminate All Instances Of Airbags Exploding
The NHTSA issued a recall to ARC Automotive, a company that manufactures airbags for passenger vehicles. The airbags have been linked to eight explosions that caused two fatalities. Generally speaking, airbag explosions cause extreme injury and usually death. The problem is linked to the inflator which inflates much too quickly, resulting in a much more potent force that throws shrapnel directly into the face of a passenger or driver.
ARC Automotive says that even adhering to industry standards cannot completely eliminate the risk of an airbag explosion. The NHTSA appears to disagree with this assessment which is setting off a stand off between the regulatory agency and the Knoxville, TN company.
The NHTSA has demanded that ARC recall 67 million inflators in driver and passenger front airbags. The recall would impact at least a dozen car companies. At this point, a full list of the impacted vehicles has not been released. Neither ARC nor the NHTSA has released a full list of the vehicles containing the potentially dangerous airbags.
Court battle could ensue
With ARC refusing to issue the recall, the stage is set for a court battle between the airbag manufacturer and the NHTSA. ARC maintains that there is no safety defect in their airbags despite 8 instances of explosive inflation, that the NHTSA’s theory of events is based on a hypothesis rather than technical conclusions, and that the NHTSA has no authority to issue a parts recall from a parts manufacturer.
ARC says that even with appropriate industry standards, it is impossible to eliminate the risk of an isolated failure. The company argues that the Motor Vehicle Safety Act does not require vehicles to never experience a failure in the field, but rather to mitigate the risk of unreasonable dangers. However, 8 failures and 2 fatalities is an indication that there may be an unreasonable risk to drivers. These failures will almost certainly result in wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits against the company and failing to act now only compounds the risk to drivers and passengers in affected vehicles.
At this point, the situation sounds similar to the Takata scandal. Takata manufactured airbags that resulted in the deaths of 23 people with four of those occurring as late as 2022. The company was alleged to have known about the defect but settled lawsuits under seal and failed to report the matter to regulatory authorities. The resulting lawsuits destroyed the company which now exists as a shell company to manage Takata’s liabilities. Numerous other auto manufacturers were hit with lawsuits as well. The Takata airbag scandal remains one of the largest black marks on the auto industry to this day. We could be seeing another Takata-like scandal brewing right now.
Talk to a Florida Defective Airbag Attorney Today
Halpern, Santos & Pinkert have the litigation chops necessary to take on a major corporation when their auto parts are defective. Call our Florida personal injury attorneys today to schedule a free consultation and we can begin discussing your case immediately.