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Exploding ARC Airbag Injures Driver; Questions Loom as Investigation into Faulty Inflators Drags On

More than 4 years after the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) committed to an investigation into why exploding airbag inflators manufactured by ARC Automotive of Tennessee are causing severe injuries and even deaths, new casualties are being reported with little to no progress by government investigators.

The most recent injury linked to an exploding ARC inflator occurred in a General Motors (GM) vehicle, according to the Eagle-Tribune. As a result of the incident, the automaker announced it would recall 1,145 Chevrolet Malibu sedans from model years 2010 and 2011. GM claims the incident is the only injury to be reported among 1.2 million vehicles manufactured with ARC inflators stock.

Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been injured by an allegedly defective airbag, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the manufacturer and our lawyers can help.

What’s the problem?

It’s been nearly 4 years since NHTSA kicked off their investigation into ARC airbag inflators, according to the Eagle-Tribune. The agency initiated the probe following at least 2 reports of people being hit by flying shrapnel during crashes.

NHTSA estimated that some 8 million vehicles — Fiat Chrysler, Hyundai, Kia, and GM to name a few — are currently equipped with ARC airbag inflators, give or take.

The problem came to the public’s attention again in 2016 after a Canadian woman driving a Hyundai was killed by shrapnel from an ARC inflator. Yet despite the renewed focus, public records indicate little progress on the NHTSA investigation, which remains unsolved.

Is the ARC Inflator Defect the Same as Takata?

ARC inflators are similar — but not identical — to the infamous Takata airbag inflators, which have been the source of a never-ending series of recalls spanning the globe over the past 5 years, in addition to being linked to scores of severe injuries and nearly two dozen deaths.

Both ARC and Takata inflators use the explosive chemical ammonium nitrate to generate the considerable force needed to deploy airbags rapidly during a crash. However, ARC inflators use ammonium nitrate only as a secondary method of inflating the bags. To date, there has only been only one known death linked to ARC inflators, according to the Chicago Tribune.

End in Sight for NHTSA Probe?

Sadly, there has been no deadline or even ballpark estimate given by the NHTSA as to a likely date of completion for the ARC airbag defect investigation. A spokeswoman would only say that the probe is ongoing “as we continue to review information with ARC and the vehicle manufacturers that may have had ARC inflators installed.”

Critics say the response is on par for the bloated government agency, which has become increasingly outmoded as the years go by and little ever seems to get done to regulate the auto industry or protect motorists on U.S. roads and highways.

“That’s really unacceptable,” said Rosemary Shahan, president of California-based Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety. “NHTSA should have gotten on top of it sooner, It’s just really painfully obvious that it’s a (safety) defect.”

Do I Have an Airbag Injury Lawsuit?

The Product Liability Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in defective airbag lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new injury and death cases in all 50 states.

Free Case Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one has been injured by an allegedly defective airbag, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and we can help.

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