General Motors faces another class action lawsuit that alleges airbag and seat belt defects have led to thousands of injuries and deaths over the past twenty years.
The lawsuit alleges that a defect in the airbag control units, or the Sensing and Diagnostic Modules, prevents the airbags and seat belt pretensioners from deploying during crashes with multiple impacts.
The plaintiffs are Willian J. Endress, Lee Ford, Gary Clark and Ira Bondsteel. The lawsuit represents those who have a General Motors truck or SUV that contains the defect, and whose vehicles were sold, manufactured, distributed, leased or purchased after July 10, 2009.
According to the lawsuit, the SDM functions as a computer for the seat belt and airbag system.
Inside the SDM, an electronic control unit receives sensor inputs, which an algorithm uses to determine if and when the airbags should deploy during a crash.
The lawsuit claims that the module software is calibrated so that airbags and pretensioners will not deploy if a deployment window has passed. This allegedly creates a “dead zone” during which these systems fail to deploy, even when additional collisions occur. The problem allegedly occurs in some frontal crashes that last for at least 45 milliseconds and require deployment after that benchmark.
General Motors allegedly knows about the SDM defect but refuses to do anything about millions of affected vehicles because of the potential costs.