“Keeping the traveling public safe is our number one priority, and we expect the manufacturers to get this remedy right to prevent injury to drivers and their families,” Foxx said.
The new recalls cover 2.12 million Acura MDX, Dodge Viper, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty, Honda Odyssey, Pontiac Vibe, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Matrix and Toyota Avalon models made in the early 2000s. The vehicles were subject to earlier recalls to address a problem with an electronic component manufactured by TRW that caused some airbags to deploy inadvertently – that is, in the absence of a crash.
NHTSA discovered through the monitoring of incoming data from consumers and automakers that some vehicles remedied under the previous recalls may have experienced inadvertent deployments. NHTSA urged all three automakers to issue new recalls to implement a more effective remedy. NHTSA has identified about 40 vehicles in which airbags deployed unexpectedly after receiving the original remedy.
Action by consumers is especially important because about 1 million Toyota and Honda vehicles involved in these new recalls are also subject to a recall related to defective Takata airbags that may deploy with enough explosive force to cause injury or even death to vehicle occupants.
Because of the dangers involved in an inadvertent deployment, and because some of the vehicles involved may also have defective Takata airbags, NHTSA is urging consumers who were covered by the original recalls to take their vehicles to their local dealer for the original remedy. That remedy, according to NHTSA, significantly reduces the chance of an airbag deployment that presents a safety risk.
“This is unfortunately a complicated issue for consumers, who may have to return to their dealer more than once,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “But this is an urgent safety issue, and all consumers with vehicles covered by the previous recalls should have that remedy installed. Even though it’s a temporary solution until the new remedy is available, they and their families will be safer if they take the time to learn if their vehicle is covered and follow their manufacturers’ instructions. A hassle is much better than a family tragedy.”
NHTSA will take a series of additional steps to ensure safety, including:
- Seeking additional information from TRW (which made the electronic part believed to be involved in the inadvertent deployments) about the potential defect, its causes and whether other makes or models might be affected.
- Seeking information from the automakers about how quickly they can make the new, more effective remedy available.