Regulators May Recall 50 Million More Airbag Inflators

Posted on 9/7/2023 by Lion Technology Inc.

At a public meeting next month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will discuss a potential automotive recall affecting dozens of vehicle makes, models, and years. 

The potential recall would affect an estimated 52 million air bag inflators used by a dozen carmakers from 2000 to 2018, including Stellantis (i.e., Chrysler and Dodge), GM, Ford, Tesla, Toyota, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Volkswagen. NHTSA claims seven rupture incidents have caused seven injuries and one death in the US.

"Air bag inflators that rupture when commanded to deploy are plainly defective, as they both fail to protect vehicle occupants as they should, and, themselves, pose an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death[.]"

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

The manufacturer of the reportedly faulty safety devices installed quality control devices on their manufacturing lines to detect excess weld slag on products in early 2018. NHTSA is unaware of issues in the company’s inflators since the installation of those slag-detecting devices.

This potential recall is near in size to the Takata recall of about 65 million air bag inflators.

Why Are Car Airbags Regulated as a
Hazardous Materials in Transportation?

Since the 2015 US DOT PHMSA rulemaking to harmonize US regulations with international standards, safety devices must be described in transportation in one of two ways:

  • UN3268, Safety devices, electrically initiated, 9
  • UN0503, Safety devices, pyrotechnic, 1.4G

The first of these two is reserved for safety devices that pass specific testing criteria found in Special Provision 160 and have been certified by a PHMSA-approved explosives testing lab.

Class 9 hazardous materials are excepted from the more stringent labeling, marking, and shipping paper requirements that apply to safety devices shipped as explosive materials (1.4G). Also, if a safety device is not "used in vehicles, vessels or aircraft to enhance safety to persons,” it cannot qualify for Class 9 reliefs.

Training to Ship Hazmat Safety Devices

The Shipping Airbags and Other Automotive Safety Devices online course prepares shippers to ensure compliance with detailed US and international regulations for classifying, packaging, marking, labeling, and documenting shipments of safety devices like airbag inflators, airbag modules, and seatbelt pretensioners.

Access training from any internet connection, stop and start as needed to fit your schedule, and receive a trusted Certificate from Lion Technology when you complete the course.


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