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Faulty Occupant Detection Sensors/ Smart Airbags


Faulty Occupant Detection Sensors or "Smart" airbags as they are more commonly known came into being in the 2000's, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration mandated that vehicles include technologies that minimize risk for children and small adults by either automatically turning off the airbag in the presence of young children or deploying the airbag in a manner much less likely to cause serious or fatal injury to out-of-position occupants. Unfortunately, the weight sensors have been shown to fail and turn off the airbag and seatbelt pre-tensioners. The result is that the airbags do not deploy when they should and the seatbelts spool out rather than locking down tightly.

Nonetheless, this issue of occupant sensor detection reliability is widespread and has led to many manufacturer recalls. For example, in 2002, General Motors recalled some 2000 Chevrolet and GMC C/K models, because the air bag sensing diagnostic module (SDM), contained “an anomaly that could result in the driver and passenger’s air bag failing to deploy during certain frontal collisions.” In February 2010, Hyundai recalled some 2010 Tucson vehicles, because “properly seated adult right front seat passengers weighing over approximately 240 pounds cause the passive occupant detection system (pods) module program to illuminate the air bag warning lamp.” In 2011, Kia recalled some 2007-2008 Sorrento passenger cars because “the occupant sensor might misclassify an adult and turn off the front passenger air bag.” In 2010, Nissan recalled some 2005 through 2007 Infiniti G35 sedans because the wire harness connecting the belt tension sensor and the occupant detection sensor control unit under the front passenger seat “can experience relative movement which can cause wear and oxidization of the terminals and may cause interruption of the signal,” causing a non-deployment in a crash.

If you or a loved one had been injured in an Accident due to faulty smart airbags or occupant detection sensors, contact a Florida auto product liability attorney at The Trial Professionals today for a free case evaluation.

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