Dodge Minivans Recalled for Inadvertent Airbag Deployment
Dodge is recalling about 209,135 of its 2011-2012 of its Grand Caravan minivans because of an airbag defect that can cause the vehicle’s airbags to deploy suddenly. According to CNET.com, the vehicles in question were manufactured between August 23, 2010 and July 25, 2012. Dodge believes that about 1 percent of the recalled vehicles have the problem.
The Problem with the Airbags
The issue is apparently related to the wiring harness. Some of the recalled vehicles may have a steering wheel wiring harness that is trapped between the plastic rear cover and the edge of the horn plate. This harness may become crushed and lose its insulation creating an electrical shock, which could in turn lead to inadvertent airbag deployment. Fiat Chrysler initially reported 13 injuries in connection with this defect, but later said it had new information that reduced that number to eight. All injuries were said to be non-life-threatening and no crashes were reported as a result of the airbag issue.
Once the recall is underway, technicians will inspect the wiring harness. If necessary, they will replace it and apply a protective covering to the wiring harness to maximize the chance of any additional wire wear. If owners have already paid for these repairs, Dodge will allow owners to seek reimbursement. Otherwise, the repairs will be done free of charge. Owners will start getting the recall notifications in July.
A Safety Hazard
While we often talk about the failure of airbags to deploy as a serious hazard in the event of a crash, it is also important to address the issue of inadvertent airbag deployment. This is when a vehicle defect causes the airbag to deploy suddenly, for no apparent reason. There are serious problems when that happens. Airbag deployments are loud and fast and can fill the cabin with particulate from the airbag. This could increase the chances of a collision, and of course, injury. Common injuries in such cases may range from bruises and abrasions to broken bones, or worse.
If you have been injured as a result of a defective vehicle part, you may be eligible to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitative treatment, permanent injuries and pain and suffering. An experienced auto product liability attorney who has handled similar cases will be able to guide victims and their families through what could be a complex process.