Takata Airbag Recall

Earlier this year, several automobile manufacturers announced recalls of different vehicle makes as a result of faulty airbags manufactured by a Japanese company called Takata.  Takata manufactured airbags for both driver and passenger’s sides in the recalled vehicles.  After investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and others, it has been determined that the propellant used in the airbags has a tendency to deteriorate in humid areas.  As a result, when the airbag is deployed, the combustion of the propellant which produces the pressure to inflate the bag can do so with greater than necessary force.  The excessive force can cause the inflator to rupture sending pieces of metal to the occupant of either the driver or passenger seat resulting in greater risk of injury to the occupant.  The vehicles that are involved in this recall are Acura, BMW, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota.  The recall covers models years generally from 2002 through 2008.  In order to determine if the recall applies to a specific vehicle, owners can go to the manufacturer’s website and use its VIN lookup tool or contact a dealer and ask to speak with a service writer then give that person the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

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Commercial Truck Investigations

R.J. Hill Consulting has recently completed two investigations into the cause of destruction of two large commercial trucks.  One investigation involved a vehicular accident and a possible brake defect while the other investigation involved an engine fire.  In the case of the accident, the brakes were found to have been completely assembled and operational.  In the second case, the fire could have been attributed to at least two different scenarios: a wiring harness that rubbed against an unknown metallic object (such as a wire braided hydraulic hose) that caused a short circuit to occur and the fire ensue.  In the second scenario, a faulty electrical connection at a breaker possibly resulted in overheating of the connection and ignition of combustible material.  Since no definitive cause was identified, the cause of the fire was ruled undetermined.

Kiwanis Presentation

On Wednesday, May 6, R.J. Hill was the guest speaker for the Kiwanis Club of Murfreesboro. Mr. Hill’s presentation was on performing forensic investigations. Specifically, Mr. Hill spoke about why an engineer was needed to investigate insurance claims and what most people don’t know about those investigations.

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