The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened a formal engineering analysis investigation into airbags made by ARC Automotive after the company’s airbags were linked to the death of a Canadian driver last month. The fatality in Canada was due to the driver’s Hyundai Elantra’s airbag inflator exploding as a result of a low impact collision. This death was the first known fatality in recent years from a rupture in an airbag manufactured by a supplier other than Takata. Previous non-fatal incidents involving ARC airbags in 2009 and 2014 sparked preliminary investigations into whether the airbags should be the subject of a product recall.
The common link between ARC and Takata airbags are their use of ammonium nitrate. ARC utilizes ammonium nitrate in its airbag inflators. Ammonium nitrate is the same compound found in Takata airbags that have been the subject the largest automotive recall in history. Takata acknowledges that the compound can break down over time, especially when exposed in high humidity environments. Takata’s airbags, however, have been linked to at least 14 deaths and over 100 injuries nationwide. For the time being, the NHTSA has not issued a recall on vehicles utilizing ARC airbags.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by a defective vehicle, please contact Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, by calling at (713) 222-7211 or toll free at 713-222-7211 for a confidential consultation.