Failed airbag on Nissan Altima raises recall concerns

by: David Ham Updated:

Loading
SEATTLE —

D. Scott said when his two-month-old 2014 Nissan Altima crashed into a utility pole on Saturday his driver's side airbag didn't deployed. 

"I'm personally afraid to drive it, I mean, if that didn't offer me protection what will?" said Scott. 

Nissan has recalled 541,686 Altimas from the 2013 to 2014 model years for passenger side airbags. 

"Certain 2013-2014 model year Nissan Altima were subject to the recall campaign that was announced in April. The purpose of the recall is to reprogram the Occupant Classification System (OCS ) software to improve classification of the occupants seated in the front passenger seat," said a Nissan spokesperson. 

The spokesperson said there have been cases where the driver's side airbag has not deployed, but said it hasn't happened often. He could not provide numbers on how many times it happened. 

"Nissan is motivated not to see it as a problem because it'll cost them a lot of money not to deal with it. So their tolerance not to respond is a lot higher than yours or mine," said Tacoma attorney Darrell Cochran, who has won several lawsuits over faulty airbags. 

Cochran added, "I think we want Nissan to react to it as quickly as they can because we know they had a systemic problem in the passenger seat and it's likely a related issue in the driver's seat." 

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety airbags should deploy at 16 miles an hour. 

Scott estimates he hit the pole at 30 to 35 miles an hour. 

"I was just shocked. I thought airbags were supposed to stop those things," said Scott. 

We asked Nissan what's being done to look into why Scott's airbag never deployed. 

"A Nissan expert will conduct an investigation into this claim as soon as the vehicle is made available. Nissan takes all customer claims very seriously. Incident investigations can take up to four weeks to complete, but (a) specialized investigation team will carefully review the incident and provide the customer with a detailed review of their findings," said a Nissan spokesperson. 

Scott says he hopes Nissan takes responsibility for the situation. 

"I don’t want the car anymore," Scott said. "I felt like I needed a bigger, safer car and that's what I thought -- I guess I got the opposite."