Los Angeles Times
U.S. probe of air bag failures broadens
DETROIT — U.S. auto safety regulators have expanded an investigation into malfunctioning air bag controls to include 12.3 million vehicles because the bags might not inflate in a crash. The problem could be responsible for as many as eight deaths.
Vehicles made by Toyota, Honda, Kia, Hyundai, Mitsubishi and Fiat Chrysler from the 2010 through 2019 model years are included in the inquiry, which was revealed Tuesday in documents posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It involves air bag control units made by ZF-TRW.
The control units can fail in a crash, possibly because of unwanted electrical signals produced by the crash itself that can disable an air bag control circuit housed in the passenger compartment, according to NHTSA documents. The electrical signals can damage the control circuit, the documents say.
ZF, a German auto parts maker that acquired TRW Automotive in 2015, said in a statement that it’s committed to safety and is cooperating with the NHTSA and automakers in the investigation.
The case is another in a long list of problems with auto industry air bags, including faulty and potentially deadly Takata air bag inflators. At least 24 people have been killed worldwide and more than 200 injured by the inflators, which can explode with too much force and hurl shrapnel into the passenger cabin.