General Motors is recalling nearly a million vehicles because driver air bag inflators could explode and injure or kill the driver.
The automaker told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in March 2023 that it was notified of a crash of a 2017 Chevrolet Traverse in which the front driver airbag inflator was allegedly ruptured during deployment, GM said in a safety report filed with the agency. The driver sustained facial injuries in the accident, according to NHTSA.
GM and NHTSA inspected the vehicle and confirmed that the front driver airbag inflator ruptured during deployment. General Motors said air bag inflators made by the same company were involved in two previous allegations involving inflators in 2015 Chevrolet Traverse vehicles.
GM said that a rupture of the inflation could cause metal fragments to pass through the airbag and into the vehicle, which could result in injury or death to those in the vehicle. “Out of an abundance of caution, GM has elected to recall 994,763 vehicles in the 2014 through 2017 model years that “may have received a suspected airbag inflator,” the company said.
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Which GM vehicles have been recalled out of nearly a million?
- 2014-2017 Buick Enclave – 244,304 SUV
- 2014-2017 Chevrolet Traverse – 457316 SUV
- 2014-2017 GMC Acadia – 293,143 SUV
Each had a front driver airbag unit with ARC bellows installed as original equipment. The driver airbag inflator may explode during deployment, due to a manufacturing defect.
Owners will be notified by letter starting June 25th, but there is no fix available yet. GM will send another letter when the remedy is ready. The automaker said it will offer a “courtesy transfer” on a case-by-case basis for owners who fear driving vehicles that are part of the recall.
Regulators are calling for a recall of 67 million potentially dangerous air bag inflators
The GM recall is just part of a larger business involving airbag inflators. NHTSA directed ARC Automotive Inc. In Knoxville, Tennessee — the manufacturer of the air inflator used in air bag units in the US is recalling General Motors — to recall 67 million inflators in the US because they can explode and throw shrapnel.
At least two people have died in the United States and Canada, and seven others have been injured as a result of ARC amplification defects, Stephen Redella, director of NHTSA’s Office of Investigation of Defects, wrote in a letter to ARC.
One of the fatalities was a mother of 10 who was killed in what appeared to be a minor accident in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the summer of 2021. Police reports show that shrapnel from a metal blower hit her neck in an accident that hit a 2015 Chevrolet Traverse SUV.
The letter, made public Friday, follows an eight-year investigation in which NHTSA tentatively concluded that the front driver and passenger air pumps had a safety defect. “Airbag inflators that shoot metal fragments at vehicle occupants, rather than properly inflating the accessory airbag, create an unreasonable risk of death and injury,” Ridella wrote in the letter.
General Motors is just one of more than a dozen automakers – among them Chrysler, Kia, Hyundai and Volkswagen – that have used the ARC bellows.
A court battle could be on the horizon as ARC told the agency that any problems with the airbags are linked to isolated manufacturing issues. ARC Vice President of Product Safety Steve Gould wrote on May 11 in response to Ridella, that NHTSA’s position “is not based on any objective technical or engineering conclusion about a defect,” but rather definitive statements regarding presumed blowhole blockage from “welding slag.” “
The next step in the process is for the NHTSA to schedule a public hearing. The company can then take it to court to force a withdrawal.
Contributing: The Associated Press.
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