The ARC Airbag Inflators Recall

Published May 30, 2023
By adyca

On May 13, 2023, after the eight-year-long investigation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a letter to ARC Automotive Inc., based out of Knoxville, Tennessee, demanding they issue a recall for the 67 million airbag inflators. Since the release of the letter, out of safety concerns, many auto companies, such as Ford Motor Company, BMW AG, Volkswagen AG, and General Motors(GM), have issued recalls of their own. The recalls offer owners of the affected vehicles free replacements of their airbag modules. GM has even gone as far as to provide their drivers "courtesy transportation" on a case-by-case basis to those owners who fear driving their vehicles may pose a risk to their lives. 


What's Wrong with the ARC Inflators?

Beginning in the mid-2015, after regulators received several complaints about seriously injured drivers, the NHTSA began overviewing field tests of the faulty ARC inflators. After examining details of the incidents where the devices ruptured, they were able to connect the issues back to the ARC airbag inflators.

As officially reported, the NHTSA found that the ARC inflators, in the event of a crash and due to the over-pressurization of the inflator, the inflators had the potential to rupture. When rupturing in an accident, the inflators would propel metal fragments into the passenger compartment, which could cause severe injuries or death.


Lawsuits Filed Against ARC

Over the years, multiple lawsuits have been filed against ARC regarding the injuries and deaths drivers have suffered in connection to the faulty inflators. A suit filed in June 2022 in the US District Court: Northern District of California named the auto companies ARC Automotive Inc., General Motors, Volkswagen, and Ford regarding the ARC airbag inflators, claiming that those companies who studied the accident reports should have informed drivers of the issues.

Another suit filed in August 2022 was a proposed class action lawsuit filed in the US District Court: District of South Carolina. The case claimed that car owners were not informed that their vehicles came equipped with defective ARC airbags and airbag inflators, leading to damages or losses that include monetary value, use of their vehicle, and other potential costs associated with the faulty airbags. 

The Beaudoin family brought the lawsuit against ARC Automotive after Marlene Beaudoin passed away after being involved in a car crash. The crash reports show pieces of the airbag inflator, the steering wheel, and the column from the Chevy Traverse she had been driving had pierced her chest, neck, and head, all of which occurred to the ARC airbag inflator. 


ARC Pushes Back Against NHTSA's Recall

While the NHTSA has reported since the beginning of 2009, at least nine incidents have occurred due to the airbag inflators that were manufactured by Knoxville-based ARC Automotive, which have left multiple individuals with significant injuries and two dead, ARC Automotive Inc. continues to deny that their airbags are the issue. On May 11, 2023, ARC fought back against the NHTSA's demands, claiming that they strongly disagreed with the Agency's "tentative conclusion" that a safety defect exists in the 67 million toroidal driver and passenger inflators. 

The company claimed that their own findings showed that the issues related to the accidents did not correlate as a recurring issue, and the extensive testing of their product resulted in no failures. While ARC still disagrees with the NHTSA, they also stated that they do not fault the auto companies who have decided to recall their vehicles out of an abundance of caution. For their own safety, drivers who suspect their vehicles contain the ARC airbag inflators are still encouraged to contact their vehicle manufacturers or dealerships to confirm whether or not their vehicle has been affected by a recall. Drivers can also head to the NHTSA's website and enter their car's "Vehicle Identification Number" (VIN) to see if their car has been recalled. 


Contact an Attorney Today

Drivers that are in possession of a recalled vehicle or who have been involved in an accident and suffered severe or life-threatening injuries due to the ARC inflators should contact an attorney. Speaking with an attorney can help you understand your best course of action and better your odds of seeking financial compensation. If you have been injured after a car crash due to your ARC inflator, we may be able to help you.

For more information about the ARC airbag inflators recall, or if you or someone you know has been injured, drivers are highly encouraged to contact a class action attorney today.