NHTSA begins inquiry as air bag in Elantra cuts off driver's ear

Wednesday 16 May 2012, 10:33 AM by

Safety Regulatory body U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently conducting an inquiry as a person's has complained that his ear was sliced in half when the side air bag of his Hyundai Elantra 2012 inflated. On May 13, 2012, the authority declared on its website that it will carry out an investigation to assess if this unfortunate incident would occur again. A total of 1,23,000 Elantras belonging to the 2012 model year are being evaluated presently.

The Elantra owner who suffered due to the malfunction filed a complaint which stated that a metal bracket jutted out when the side curtain air bag inflated in the car. This bracket stuck out when the air bag came into effect in a crash on April 07, 2012 and cut off the ear of the driver in half. He also submitted photos to the agency showing a metal part protruding out of the vehicle on the top of the driver seat.

Documents available with NHTSA stated, "It appears that the metal component caused a laceration to the driver's ear/face." The car safety regulatory body of the country will assess the concerned compact vehicle to determine whether passengers face a safety risk due to this issue. However, it has not directed the company to issue a recall as of now.

In an email, Miles Johnson, the spokesman of Hyundai, said that this was a one-off incident. He wrote, "Hyundai has no other reports of injury from side curtain air bag deployment in 2012 Elantras." In his mail, Johnson also said that the South Korean car maker is rendering full support to NHSTA. However, neither party has had the opportunity to see the concerned Elantra. The manufacturer has rolled out over 1,64,000 units of the vehicle in the country since June 2011, the first time that it sold 2012 model for a full month. Notably, some of the cars sold since then are expected to be of the previous model year.

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