GM Faulty SDM Airbag & Seatbelt Lawsuit

Millions of General Motors trucks and SUVs may have placed occupants at risk of serious injury or death during a crash due to a defect in the Sensing and Diagnostic Module (SDM) system which controls airbag and seatbelt functioning. People whose vehicles used the faulty SDM units may be eligible for compensation through a GM SDM Airbag and Seatbelt Calibration Lawsuit.

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  • GM Truck and SUV Airbag and Seatbelts May Fail During Crash
  • SDM Design Defect Was Intentional
  • GM Knew About SDM Design Defect
  • Safety Information Not Included for GM Truck Airbag Failure
  • Affected GM SDM Vehicles

A defect in GM trucks and SUVs may prevent seatbelt tightening and airbag deployment during crashes, leaving vehicle occupants without protection. The airbag control unit, Sensing and Diagnostic Module (SDM) in certain GM trucks and SUVs may have been calibrated to prevent deployment of airbags and seatbelts in some vehicle crashes. Failure of the airbags or seatbelts may have resulted in serious injury or death during a crash.

People who purchased, leased, or owned a GM truck or SUV manufactured after 2009 or were injured due to airbag failure may be eligible for compensation.

GM Vehicles involved in the SDM Airbag Deployment Failure includes all GM trucks and SUVs starting with model year 2009.

  • GMC Sierra
  • Chevrolet Suburban
  • Chevrolet Silverado
  • Cadillac Escalade
  • Chevrolet Tahoe
  • GMC Canyon
  • Chevrolet S-10
  • Chevrolet Colorado
  • Chevrolet Avalanche
  • GMC Sonoma

GM Truck and SUV Airbag and Seatbelts May Fail During Crash

GM Trucks and SUVs utilize a control unit known as the Sensing and Diagnostic Module (SDM) for control of airbag deployment and seatbelt tightening.

The SDM unit is controlled by a software program, ALGO-S which is programmed to analyze crash information and enable airbag and seatbelt deployment. In certain GM SUVs and pickup trucks, the software used to control SDM units was calibrated to shut off airbag and seatbelt deployment 45 milliseconds after a crash has begun. Prevention of airbag or seatbelt deployment in certain types of crashes lasting longer than 45 milliseconds may have resulted in increased risk of serious injury or death.

Some crashes involve multiple impacts or impacts which increase in severity of time. During these types of crashes including rollovers, chain-reaction crashes, multiple object collisions and other domino-type accidents, prevention of seatbelt deployment may increase the risk of serious injury or death.

Calibration of the SDM modules in GM Vehicles may have prevented airbag and seatbelt deployment, no matter how severe the crash became. At least 1,298 injuries or deaths have been attributed to this defect.

SDM Design Defect Was Intentional

The SDM design defect was purposeful and not accidental. It was reportedly intended to reduce injuries caused by late airbag deployment. The SDM prevents airbag employment in crashes that last longer than 45 milliseconds.

Late airbag deployment had been attributed to a number of injuries during the “first generation” period of airbag use which was reportedly the reason for the design factor. Since that time, airbag technology has improved dramatically and such injuries are rare, however GM did not change the deployment time. While the truck and SUV division left the deployment time at 45 milliseconds, other automobile design groups, including the GM cars group, began to employ a much longer time of 150 milliseconds.

GM Knew About SDM Design Defect

General Motors was reorganized through bankruptcy in 2009. Prior to reorganization, “old” GM had been reportedly warned in 1999 by a group of software engineers that preventing airbag and seatbelt deployment under these conditions was a “reckless and dangerous design decision”. The cars group of GM changed their SDM parameters, however the Truck division which is responsible for pickups and SUVs, left the programming at the lower 45 millisecond figure.

When the company was acquired by “new” GM in 2009, the knowledge of the defect and objections of engineers was included in old company documentation and has continued to grow as the number of accidents has increased. Despite this knowledge, GM Truck and SUVs have continued to be manufactured with the defect, even though the company has already settled multiple personal injury lawsuits for the airbag failures.

Safety Information Not Included for GM Truck Airbag Failure

Since 1999, at least 1,298 people have been killed or injured when the airbags did not deploy in a truck or SUV crash. Despite the knowledge, GM has not included the information in the owner’s manual, marketing or other materials and has continued to sell the vehicles.

Information about airbags and seatbelts is mostly extensive and specific but does not include warnings about SDM shutoff. Marketing information for GM SUVs and Pickups has often included claims about “safety” and “protection” when referring to airbags. This left consumers unaware and may have resulted in injury, death, or harm and financial loss due to compromised safety.

Affected GM SDM Vehicles

People who were injured or whose post-2009 GM SUV or Pickup Truck vehicles put them at risk of injury may be eligible for compensation.

Affected Vehicles Include:

GM Vehicles involved in the SDM Airbag Deployment Failure includes all GM trucks and SUVs starting with model year 2009.

  • GMC Sierra
  • Chevrolet Suburban
  • Chevrolet Silverado
  • Cadillac Escalade
  • Chevrolet Tahoe
  • GMC Canyon
  • Chevrolet S-10
  • Chevrolet Colorado
  • Chevrolet Avalanche
  • GMC Sonoma

If you purchased or own a GM Truck or SUV manufactured after 2009, you may have been placed at risk of serious injury and may be eligible for compensation.


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