Volvo just issued a recall on 2001-03 Volvo S60 and S80 cars following the death of a driver, which was caused by metal fragments from an exploding airbag inflator. The recall currently involves up to 54,000 vehicles in the United States but could expand as investigators continue to research the issue.
The inflator involved in the fatal accident was manufactured by auto parts supplier ZF/TRW. It is currently unknown whether Volvo used these inflators in other model vehicles and whether ZF/TRW sold the same inflators to other automotive manufacturers.
NHTSA said the ZF/TRW inflator rupture that caused the death is the only known incident worldwide. However, it is cause for concern because U.S. government documents show the ZF/TRW inflators perform similarly to the deadly inflators made by Takata, but do not use ammonium nitrate.
Takata used ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate airbags in a crash. Over time the ammonium nitrate deteriorates when exposed to moisture in the air, which results in a more violent explosion and can blow apart the metal cannister and hurl shrapnel into the passenger compartment. At least 26 people worldwide have been killed by the Takata inflators and it resulted in the largest automotive recall in U.S. history with over 63 million vehicles recalled.
Volvo said that according to registration documents approximately 13,800 of the 54,000 recalled vehicles are still in use. The recall covers vehicles that were sold or registered in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
If you or someone you know has been injured as the result of shrapnel from an exploding airbag, please contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-231-9360 and 713-222-7211.