Kia Motors has issued a vehicle defect recall due to an electronic defect that may prevent the proper deployment of the vehicle’s airbags. According to a Reuters news report, this recall will involve at least 507,000 Kia vehicles.
The recall may also have resulted after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the launch of an investigation into certain Kia and Hyundai models. The investigation was meant to discover why certain airbags did not deploy in Kia and Hyundai vehicles during car crashes. These car crashes that involved the defective airbags resulted in a total of 6 injuries and 4 fatalities. There have been cases in the county of San Diego where a car accident lawyer has had to discuss legal options with the clients.
The two automaker brands have a close affiliation beyond merely being the two largest automobile manufacturers in South Korea. Hyundai owns a significant percentage of Kia, while Kia in turn is a minority owner of at least 20 Hyundai subsidiaries. Together, these 2 auto brands have issued recalls affecting approximately 1.1 million vehicles regarding the airbag issue.
According to the NHTSA, the two brands account for a total of 6 serious frontal car accidents during which the airbags did not deploy as expected. The 2011 Hyundai Sonata figured in 4 of those crashes, while the rest involved 2012 and 2013 Kia Forte vehicles.
Recalling Cars to Prevent Car Accidents
The recall was issued on June 8, and it involves the 2011-2013 Kia Optimas and the 2010-2013 Kia Fortes. It also covers the Kia Optima Hybrid and Sedona vehicles from 2011 and 2012. Hyundai in turn recalled 154,000 Sonatas in the US for similar issues.
The cause of the recall is a defect in the airbag control unit of these vehicles. According to Kia, this component may short-circuit as a result of electrical overstress. The short-circuit can keep the frontal airbag and the seatbelt pretensioners from deploying properly during a car crash. These components work together to keep the driver and the front seat passenger securely and firmly in their seats.
The NHTSA has focused its investigation on the airbag control module which may be vulnerable to electrical overstress. A similar recall due to airbag deployment failure was also issued for 1.4 million Fiat Chrysler vehicles in 2016.
Consequences of Airbag Deployment Failure
The resulting injuries can be catastrophic when airbags do not properly deploy during a car crash. Airbags work in conjunction with seatbelts to help save lives and minimize the severity of car crash injuries. When airbags do not deploy properly, the results include severe internal organ damage and injuries to the face and head. These failures have resulted in 4 deaths, which may have been prevented if the airbags deployed correctly. When this accidents happen the passenger could also be injured. Passenger car accident cases are also very common in the law.
If your car is part of the recall, you must make sure to have the defective component replaced as quickly as possible. You should also consult with lawyer with experience in automotive product liability cases, should you be involved in a car crash during which your airbag fails to deploy properly. Your lawyer can point out your best legal options, and you may also receive damages that may cover your medical expenses and lost income as well.