The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a preliminary investigation into the 2012 Hyundai Elantra. The investigation is looking into allegations, stemming from one incident, that the vehicle’s air bag, when deployed, can lead to severe lacerations.
Air bag deployment blamed for injuries
The federal safety regulator said on its website Monday that it will be looking into 123,000 2012 Elantras to see whether the alleged issue is more than an isolated problem. The complaint stems from an April 7 incident in which a man was involved in a crash in his 2012 Elantra. The side curtain air bag inflated, as it is meant to, but a metal bracket meant to stay in the housing came out with it, allegedly causing the injuries.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
“It appears that the metal component caused a laceration to the driver’s ear/face.”
Ear cut in half
More specifically, according to the Huffington Post, the protruding bracket cut the man’s ear in half and lacerated his face. The unnamed injured motorist filed photos of the bracket protruding from the left edge of the headliner above the driver seat with his complaint. The preliminary investigation was officially opened on Thursday of last week.
A recurring problem?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it will look into the complaint to see if it is a recurring safety issue with the vehicle. If such is determined, the automaker could be asked to voluntarily issue a safety recall for the model.
While not committing to any conclusions prior to the investigation, Miles Johnson, a spokesperson for the Korea-based automaker, wrote in an emailed statement:
“Hyundai has no other reports of injury from side curtain air bag deployment in 2012 Elantras.”
Vehicle not yet inspected
Johnson went on to say that neither the automaker nor the federal watchdog have so far had the opportunity to examine the owner’s affected vehicle:
“The evaluation is in the very early stages; neither Hyundai nor National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have had an opportunity to inspect the 2012 Elantra that is the subject of this evaluation.”
Johnson also said that Hyundai plans to cooperate with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and its investigation.
For sale since June
The 2012 Elantra went on sale in June of 2011. Since that time, about 164,000 units have been sold in the United States.