February 22, 2019 — There has been little progress on a government investigation into a growing number of injuries linked to ARC airbags that explode metal shrapnel.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened the investigation 4 years ago. In 2015, an Ohio woman was severely injured when an ARC inflator spewed metal shrapnel after she got into a car accident in a 2002 Chrysler Town and Country minivan.
Now, another injury has been linked to ARC airbags. Last week, General Motors announced a recall for certain model-year 2010 and 2011 Chevrolet Malibu sedans after receiving a report of a driver who was hurt by an exploding ARC airbag in September 2017.
ARC airbags have also been linked to at least 1 death — a Canadian woman was killed in July 2016 when the ARC airbag exploded in her 2009 Hyundai Elantra after a minor low-speed car accident.
Similar to the airbags manufactured by bankrupt Takata Corp. of Japan, ARC airbag inflators are stored in a metal canister that can potentially break apart. The difference is that ARC airbags use ammonium nitrate as a secondary method of inflating the bags.
The other difference is the number of injuries and deaths. Takata airbags are linked to at least 23 deaths and 300 injuries worldwide, while only 1 known death has been linked to exploding ARC airbags.
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