US probes Hyundai, Kia after 4 deaths tied to airbags

Federal safety regulators say that at least four people have died following head-on crashes in Hyundai and Kia cars i...

Posted: Mar 20, 2018 1:21 PM
Updated: Mar 20, 2018 1:21 PM

Federal safety regulators say that at least four people have died following head-on crashes in Hyundai and Kia cars in which the airbags did not deploy.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it's investigating the airbags in 2011 Hyundai Sonatas and 2012 and 2013 Kia Fortes after it received reports the devices failed to deploy in six different crashes that resulted in injuries, including the four involving fatalities.

There are an estimated 425,000 cars on US roads that could be affected by the problem, according to the NHTSA's review, which was made public on Saturday.

Hyundai announced earlier this month that it plans to recall 155,000 of the 2011 Sonatas due to a short circuit in the controller that deploys the airbags. But it has yet to recall the cars because it does not yet have a fix in place. The automaker said it will notify owners by April 20.

Related: Ford recalls 1.4 million cars because steering wheel can come off

Hyundai's initial recall statement did not mention that any deaths or injuries had occurred in the cars with faulty airbags. When asked about the NHTSA's investigation, it said the four accidents involving Sonatas resulted in two deaths and two injuries. It described the accidents as "rare and unique."

"These accidents included a very high rate of speed and a severe offset head-on collision to the front driver side of the vehicle," said the company. "We are actively investigating what exactly causes the airbag control unit to become damaged in these specific types of accidents."

Kia, which is also owned by Hyundai Motors but operates as a separate company in the US, has not announced any recalls for the Forte related to the airbag. Kia said it is working with NHTSA but that it "has not confirmed any airbag non-deployments arising from the potential chip issue."

The airbags were made by ZF-TRW, according to the NHTSA filing. Spokespersons for VF-TRW did not respond to a request for comment.

The largest auto recall in the nation's history involved 50 million airbags made by supplier Takata for 37 million cars across most major automakers. Those airbags, which exploded and sent shrapnel into the car's occupants, have been tied to at least 13 U.S. deaths and more than 200 injuries, according to NHTSA.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307332

Reported Deaths: 7095
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20757248
Hinds19869408
Harrison17475302
Rankin13307275
Jackson13095243
Madison9886210
Lee9854169
Jones8289160
Forrest7522146
Lauderdale7185237
Lowndes6261144
Lamar610284
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Washington5279132
Bolivar4769129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4440103
Pearl River4418139
Warren4277118
Marshall4267100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4056132
Union403575
Neshoba3984176
Lincoln3869107
Hancock371985
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322681
Pike3177104
Scott310472
Yazoo304268
Alcorn297664
Itawamba296776
Copiah292965
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284668
Prentiss275659
Marion265679
Wayne261341
Leake260973
Grenada254882
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Adams245882
Newton244859
George237647
Winston225981
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Attala213273
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Holmes186471
Clay182354
Stone179131
Clarke176676
Tallahatchie175240
Calhoun163130
Yalobusha158636
Smith158534
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126223
Noxubee125833
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite119941
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105332
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95126
Humphreys94332
Franklin81723
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518588

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753351487
Mobile37698798
Madison33829494
Tuscaloosa25245443
Montgomery23942565
Shelby23094238
Baldwin20617300
Lee15510165
Calhoun14277311
Morgan14137268
Etowah13660345
Marshall11952219
Houston10379278
Elmore9988200
Limestone9806147
Cullman9467188
St. Clair9422234
Lauderdale9208227
DeKalb8745181
Talladega8042171
Walker7087275
Jackson6753110
Autauga6715103
Blount6480135
Colbert6200130
Coffee5397112
Dale4766110
Russell428238
Franklin419882
Chilton4080109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3892146
Escambia387574
Dallas3526149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305475
Lawrence295295
Winston272272
Bibb256258
Marengo248561
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218675
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176741
Monroe171240
Washington163838
Macon154348
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
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