| DETROIT, July 26
DETROIT, July 26 U.S. safety regulators are
investigating the potential for air bags to fail because of
software issues in older Chevrolet Impala sedans made by General
Motors Co, after receiving a consumer complaint about an
alleged incident in Texas.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said
Friday that it has opened a probe into about 320,000 Impalas
from model year 2008, but would also look at 2007 and 2009
GM has recalled nearly 15 million vehicles this year,
including the Impala, for ignition switch issues that could
cause air bags to fail in a crash.
One of the recalls, in June, included Impalas from model
years 2006-2014. In a July 2 letter to NHTSA, GM said a heavy
key ring on those cars could pull the ignition key out of the
run position, which could shut off the engine and cut power to
steering and air bags.
NHTSA's new investigation of the 2008 Impala involved a
separate issue. It was in response to a November 2013 petition
by Donald Friedman, a principal in a California research firm
and an expert witness in product liability litigation, on behalf
of an elderly couple involved in a crash of a 2008 Impala in
After receiving additional information this year from
Friedman and reviewing its own crash databases, NHTSA said it
opened the probe "in an abundance of caution."
Friedman asked NHTSA specifically to investigate the
software that controls passenger-side air bag deployment in a
crash on all 2004-2010 GM models.
In the Texas crash, the driver's air bag deployed, but the
front passenger's did not. Both occupants were injured,
according to Friedman's complaint.
(Reporting by Paul Lienert; Editing by Frances Kerry)