NHTSA has officially reopened an investigation into airbag defects that could lead to even more recalls.
In 2013, a massive airbag recall affecting numerous automakers resulted in millions of vehicles being recalled. That number could grow as NHTSA is now taking a closer look at airbag complaints related to 2002 through 2006 model year vehicles manufactured by Chrysler, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota. Yesterday, Toyota recalled 766,000 vehicles over an airbag issue and that recall is linked to NHTSA’s investigation.
The agency’s investigation suggests that problems with supplier Takata’s airbag inflators may be more widespread than initially thought and could increase the risk of inflator explosion, fire and occupant injuries due to improper propellant.
NHTSA’s Office of Defects has discovered at least six incidents of bag inflator rupture, all of which occurred in high-humidity climates. One of those incidents involved a 2005 Honda Civic where the driver-side airbag inflator is said to have exploded, sending a one-inch piece of shrapnel into the driver’s eye. The incident, which occurred in August 2013, reportedly led to a loss of sight and several lacerations to the nose. The 2005 Honda Civic was not included in the previous recall campaigns.
The other incident involved a 2003 Toyota Corolla, which reportedly also sent shrapnel to the driver’s head. The car also allegedly caught on fire and the front windshield was shattered.
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