Deadly Hyundai and Kia Airbag Defects Lead to New NHTSA Investigation
According to Automotive News, NHSTA is opening an investigation to find why certain Hyundai and Kia airbags failed to deploy in several accidents which resulted in four deaths and six injuries. This investigation will cover 425,000 Kia Forte models manufactured in 2012 and 2013, and Hyundai Sonata models manufactured in 2011. The airbag non-deployment defect appears to be the result of over-stress in the airbag control unit.
Hyundai spokesperson, Jim Trainor, states they are aware of the two reported deaths, and are currently working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on the investigation. So far, Mr. Trainor states they’ve only seen issues with the 2011 Sonata.
In a similar statement, Kia Motors Corp. said they are working closely with NHSTA on the investigation but haven’t found non-deployment issues being attributed to a potential chip issue. They also claim to be carefully monitoring the safety performance of the 2012 and 2013 Kia Forte.
The German auto supplier of the airbag control module, ZF Friedrichshafen-TRW, released the following statement:
“ZF is aware of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recently announced investigation and will continue to work with its customers and NHTSA to support the ongoing investigation.”
Last month, Hyundai issued a recall for 154,753 Sonatas in the United States due to airbag non-deployment issues linked to electrical overstress in the airbag control unit. In 2014, Hyundai was fined $17.35 million by NHSTA due to delays in the brake defect recall of 43,500 Genesis vehicles. In a statement regarding the brake recall, NHTSA stated “Hyundai must change the way they deal with safety-related defects.”
As defective automobile lawyers, we see many accidents involving airbags that do not work as they were intended. If you or a loved one have been involved in a serious accident where your airbags did not deploy, contact the airbag defect attorneys at The Potts Law Firm to determine if you have a case against your vehicle manufacturer.