Automotive Recall Accelerator August 2021

Automotive Recall Accelerator August 2021

Stout's Automotive Recall Accelerator brings together unique and important news, analysis, and insights related to automotive recall and vehicle safety.

August 04, 2021

Recent Developments

A consistent trend in automotive recalls in 2021 is the initiation of recalls without any associated field events (e.g., deaths, injuries, warranty claims, etc.). Another recent example is a recall of 136 model year 2020-2021 vehicles due to a missing heating component in passenger seats. The vehicle manufacturer was notified of the missing component and determined that it could potentially affect the performance of the occupant classification system in detecting the presence of a passenger.

  • “Due to an assembly error that has since been corrected, the subject vehicles were assembled without the passenger seat back heating element. This variation from specification can affect the Occupant Classification System as calibrated for this specific vehicle.”
  • Part 573 submission

A recall involving exploding airbags unrelated to the Takata recalls was recently announced. A vehicle manufacturer is recalling over 140,000 2015-2016 model year vehicles due to roof-rail airbags exploding and sending airbag components into the vehicle. This is due to a manufacturing defect where the airbag inflator vessel has corroded from moisture entering the airbag system. This recall was initiated after three field incidents were reported. “In these vehicles, the roof-rail airbag (“RRAB”) inflators, which are located on the left- and right-side roof rails above the headliner, may contain a manufacturing defect that may result in inflator end cap separation or inflator sidewall split.”

  • “If the end cap separates from the RRAB inflator or a sidewall rupture occurs, the compressed gas will escape from the inflator and the end cap or other components can be propelled into the vehicle, potentially causing an occupant injury if the vehicle is occupied.”
  • Part 573 submission

In July, 18 attorneys general requested that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) set vehicle side-impact standards for child car seats. NHTSA communicated that it plans to issue a final set of standards by January 2022, as well as two additional rulings involving transitions to forward-facing car seats and installation of car seats.

The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning launched an advertising campaign to encourage seat belt usage for drivers and passengers as a result of the lowest seatbelt use rate within the last 17 years; declining from 94.4% in 2019 to 92.6% in 2021.

  • “The survey results come just a few weeks after the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center confirmed that Michigan traffic deaths peaked above 1,000 for the first time in three years.” “Michigan’s all-time belt use record was 97.9% in 2009.”
  • “According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belt use in the United States during 2019 ranged from 70.7% in New Hampshire to 97.1% in Hawaii. The nationwide seat belt use rate was 90.7% in 2019.”
  • Michigan officials concerned after seat belt use drops to lowest rate since 2004

Research

In April, the Department of Transportation (DOT) and NHTSA issued a joint report regarding their testing efforts to assess the technical requirements of a global regulation for electric vehicles originally issued in March 2018 (GTR No. 20). This electric vehicle regulation “introduced performance-oriented requirements that address potential safety risks of electric vehicles while in use and after a crash event, including electrical shocks associated with the high-voltage circuits of electric vehicles and potential hazards associated with lithium-ion batteries and/or other rechargeable electric energy storage systems.”

Insights

For the seventh consecutive year, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility awarded grants to states to help keep individuals safe from alcohol and drug impaired drivers (GHSA-Responsibility.org Grant). The grants were awarded to Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, and Wisconsin and totaled $157,165.

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