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When Airbags Kill

Designed as lifesavers, problems and recalls mount.

by on Feb.12, 2013

Honda has recalled millions of vehicles due to airbag defects, including the 2011 Odyssey.

They’re designed to save lives and reduce potential serious injuries, but a search of federal records reveals that a surprising number of Americans have been killed or injured due to problems with vehicle airbag systems.

In fact, defects involving the devices have been among the most common factor in the surge in safety-related recalls over the last several years. A total of 1.5 million vehicles have already been targeted by airbag recalls ordered by Honda and Toyota this year, with 22 separate recalls involving 18 different brands in 2012 involving airbag defects.

“It’s a complex system and that complexity implies more components, Honda spokesman Chris Martin told USA Today.

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The maker has had some of the most serious problems with airbag defects in recent years, including a recall in January that involved nearly 750,000 Pilot and Odyssey models. Missing rivets on an airbag cover could cause the devices to fail to inflate properly, noted the maker, “increasing the risk of injury in a crash.”


Jeep Recalling Over 900k Older Models

NHTSA cracks down on faulty airbags.

by on Nov.09, 2012

The 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of several models targeted by the latest recall.

Chrysler is recalling over 919,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty SUVs worldwide due to a potential defect that can cause their airbags to unexpectedly inflate while the vehicles are being driven.

A total of 775,000 older versions of the two Jeep models will be impacted in the U.S., along with 49,000 sold in Canada, 22,000 in Mexico and the rest distributed to other global markets.  While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the problem has not led to any accidents there have been a number of minor injuries caused by the inadvertent airbag deployments.

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The latest recall adds to the growing tally of safety actions related to airbag safety defects. Ford, Honda and Hyundai are among the list of other makers who have been affected in recent years.