General Motors (GM) is again under fire from auto safety experts for a glitch discovered in the airbag software of model year 2003-2010 Chevrolet Impalas. The defective software can misread an occupant’s weight and prevent the airbag from deploying in the event of a collision. No recall or statement has been issued by GM but data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests that this defect could be linked to over 140 deaths since 2003.
In 2003, the auto adopted new airbag standards which were implemented after studies had shown that the force at which the air bag was deployed was linked to nearly 300 deaths. Software was installed in vehicles that changed the force of deployment when an occupant was belted and turned off the airbag when a small adult or child was riding in the front seat. The glitch in the software of the Chevy Impalas incorrectly reads the weight of an adult occupant as a child and prevents the airbag from being deployed in a crash.
The problem with the Chevy Impala airbag software is a separate issue from the 2.6 million vehicles recalled by GM for a defective ignition switch. The ignition of recalled GM vehicles can turn from “on” to “accessory” mode and cause the vehicle to lose engine and electrical power. While this defect can also prevent the airbag from being deployed, it remains a separate issue from the defect of the Chevy Impala.
Source: Chevy Impala has airbag software flaw, safety advocate claims in U.S. petition