Maker of potentially deadly airbags refuses recall

Airbags deployed during a car crash.
Airbags deployed during a car crash. Photo credit Getty Images

Officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are calling on the manufacturers of 52 million air bag inflators to issue a recall because they may rupture and send dangerous metal fragments flying at passengers.

The manufacturers, ARC Automotive and Delphi Automotive, have so far not moved to recall the airbags, despite the NHTSA demanding it be done back in May.

Since ARC rejected the recall demand, the agency has issued an initial decision and set a public meeting for Oct. 5 to try and compel a recall from the auto part suppliers.

The inflators that the agency says need to be recalled have been used in vehicles manufactured from 2000 through early 2018.

The NHTSA also shared that 12 automakers would be affected by the recall, including General Motors, Toyota, Ford, Stellantis, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Kia, Ford, Tesla, BMW, and Volkswagen.

While ARC rejected the NHTSA’s tentative conclusion that a defect existed in May, the agency remained steadfast in its findings that danger is present, according to a ruling from Tuesday.

“Air bag inflators that rupture when commanded to deploy are plainly defective, as they both fail to protect vehicle occupants as they should, and, themselves, pose an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death,” NHTSA said on Tuesday.

The NHTSA also said that in January 2018, ARC completed the installation of devices on inflator manufacturing lines used to detect if there is an excess hardened byproduct of welding in the devices.

Since the devices were installed, the agency said it is unaware of any other issues in ARC inflators.

While the agency says it is certain of the problem, it does not have a likely cause identified, but ARC’s argument on not finding a root cause “is not a reason for delaying a recall.”

So far, there have been seven confirmed inflator ruptures in the U.S. in vehicles that the NHTSA is looking to have recalled. The incidents have resulted in seven injuries and one death.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images