Some auto safety advocates say the investigation has dragged on for too long, and is an example of deadly consequences of an understaffed and underfunded agency. “NHTSA should have been all over this along time ago,” said Rosemary Shahan, president of California-based Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety. “There’s just no denying that it’s a (safety) defect.”
On Wednesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted recall documents filed by General Motors that revealed the second death, the driver of a 2015 Chevrolet Traverse SUV with an ARC inflator that blew apart, spewing shrapnel. No details were given about where and when the death occurred. NHTSA has said that ARC Automotive of Knoxville has manufactured about 8 million inflators used nationwide in vehicles made by General Motors, Fiat Chrysler (now Stellantis), Kia and Hyundai. The second death should not have happened, and vehicles with faulty ARC inflators should have been recalled faster, Shahan said.
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BusinessEconomic institutes slash Germany’s growth forecastDeere & Co. workers go on strike after rejecting contractBiden tries to tame inflation by having LA port open 24/7From cars to gasoline, surging prices match a 13-year high “This is what keeps me awake at night, knowing that a lot of times they wait until there’s a fatality or terrible injury before they act,” she said.
The agency, Shahan said, is “grossly underfunded,” but it still should have sought recalls of the ARC inflators. She said historically NHTSA has taken little action during Republican administrations but has ramped up safety efforts when Democrats control the White House. Messages were left Wednesday seeking comment from NHTSA and ARC. The GM recall covers 550 Chevy Traverse SUVs from the 2013 through 2017 model years, as well as Buick Enclave SUVs from 2008 through 2017. The automaker said in a statement that the faulty front driver’s air bag inflators were either installed at the factory or in replacement air bag modules.
GM documents posted by NHTSA Wednesday show that the company is recalling cars with inflators from the same manufacturing lot. “We make safety recall decisions based on data,” spokesman Dan Flores said in an email. “Based on our investigation this recall only covers the 550 vehicles included in this field action.” Customers will be notified about the recall by letters starting around Nov. 22.
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