The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that it will be reviewing a petition filed in November that requests an investigation of older Chevrolet Impalas.
According to the petition, 320,000 Impalas are affected by a defect that results in the inaccurate suppression of the front passenger airbag moments prior to a frontal crash. The petition is asking NHTSA to investigate the passenger air bag Occupant Classification System (OCS) software logic and algorithm.
Normally, the software keeps the airbag from deploying if a child or a small person is sitting in the front seat in order to prevent any additional injuries from the airbag.
The petition is based on a crash in 2008, involving a 2008 Chevrolet Impala where the front driver airbag was deployed, but the passenger airbag was not deployed due to OCS suppression.
The two occupants of the Impala were injured and the passenger developed additional medical complications. The petition points out that GM uses this type of software in other GM models since 2003 and that therefore all 2004-10 GM models may be similarly defective.
NHTSA has investigated this model in the past, stating that the administration “has not identified reports indicating the presence of an OCS related defect in the 2004-2014 Impala. However, and in an abundance of caution, an evaluation of a limited scope of GM models, which will include a request for potentially related data on the MY 2007 to 2009 Impala, will be conducted to further evaluate the petitioner’s allegations.”