Center for Auto Safety calling for Chevy Impala airbag probe

Filed under: Budget, Sedan, Government/Legal, Recalls, Safety, Chevrolet

2009 Chevrolet Impala

The Center for Auto Safety and its leader, Clarence Ditlow, have taken aim at General Motors again, this timing writing to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the 2003 to 2010 Chevrolet Impala. If you’ve been following our coverage of GM’s ignition switch recall, you’ll recognize Ditlow and the CAS as vocal critics of the automaker and strong proponents of setting up a victims’ fund.

CAS’ letter regards the Impala’s airbag systems. In particular, it focuses on a piece of computer code that dictates when the airbags deploy, in the event of an accident. The problem, as CAS sees it, is that there may be a glitch in the airbag’s algorithm that prevents the system from deploying if the seat’s occupant bounces before the accident, lessening the amount of weight on the airbag sensor. Without the minimum amount of weight on the seat, the computer doesn’t think there’s anyone occupying it, and consequently, won’t deploy an airbag.

According to CAS, there have been 143 people killed in front-impact crashes in 2000 to 2010 Impalas (CAS is, weirdly, including 2000 to 2002 Impala deaths, despite the fact that not all of those vehicles may feature the advanced airbag and flawed algorithim). Of those 143 deaths, only 98 were wearing seat belts. Eliminating 2000 to 2002 fatalities drops those figures to 132 and 89, respectively.

Finally, and perhaps most troubling, is CAS’ study on the matter, which relies on the shaky data of the Fatality Analysis Report System – the same system that claimed there were 303 deaths due to the ignition switch recall. Basically, while there may be a problem with the algorithms, it certainly seems like CAS is asking a rather loaded question here.

We’ve included CAS executive director Ditlow’s letter to NHTSA below. Scroll down, have a look, and let us know what you think.

Continue reading Center for Auto Safety calling for Chevy Impala airbag probe

Center for Auto Safety calling for Chevy Impala airbag probe originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 08 Apr 2014 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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