Nightmare Scenario: A 2016 Chevy Tahoe Owner’s Airbags Didn’t Deploy in an Accident

In September 2016, General Motors had to recall their 2016 Chevy Tahoe due to an airbag defect. It was apparent in some crashes the airbags would not deploy properly. The 2016 Tahoe was not the first time GM recalled one of their vehicles, and it was not the last. The recall of 2016 Tahoe, and other SUVs offered by GM, fostered consumer criticism about the safety of GM’s vehicles.

The 2016 Chevy Tahoe

After the release of the 2015 Chevy Tahoe, Chevrolet was looking for a major redo. The 2016 model incorporated a higher-quality interior, added convenience through increased interior space, and it was much quieter than previous models. It also boasts a V8 engine with 355 hp, rear-wheel, and four-wheel drive, and it seats up to nine individuals. As standard with all Tahoe models, it features a six-speed automatic transmission. The 2016 Tahoe averages 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. 

Other featured highlights to the 2016 Chevy include an 8-inch touchscreen interface, OnStar with 4G LTE capabilities, and an upgraded Chevy MyLink system. Forward collision warning and lane departure were new safety features in the 2016 Tahoe. Based on the size and features offered in the 2016 Tahoe, it was an incredibly popular SUV for Chevrolet. However, there was a serious defect with the vehicle.

A nightmare scenario for one Tahoe owner

RELATED: Buy a Used Chevy Tahoe From This Year

According to a driver in Tucson, Arizona who documented her experience on Car Complaints, an impaired driver struck her 2016 Tahoe on the front driver side at high-speed. The impact caused the Tahoe to flip and hurled it across a nearby parking lot. During the crash, the airbags failed to deploy. The driver hit her head while the car was rolling and lost consciousness. She suffered a severe concussion from the incident, but it could have been significantly worse.

During a high impact crash, a car’s airbags are the driver’s and passengers’ best lifeline. When an airbag fails to deploy properly, the risk of serious injury and death increases significantly. Likewise, the car manufacturer is liable for any crashes that involve faulty airbags. Unfortunately for GM and Tahoe drivers, this was not an isolated incident, prompting GM to issue a factory recall. After receiving criticism for their 2015 Tahoe model, the 2016 recall was a wake-up call for GM and Chevrolet.

Recapturing the public image with the 2020 Chevy Tahoe

Since the 2016 Tahoe, GM and Chevrolet have made great strides in improving the safety of their SUVs. The 2020 Chevy Tahoe comes equipped with seven airbags, and a newly incorporated center-mounted front airbag. It also includes side-impact and overhead airbags to protect the torso and head during a crash. The 2020 Tahoe also features seatbelt pretensioners, which tighten and put the passenger in the safest position when there is a collision.

The 2020 Tahoe has been through extensive crash testing. It received a four-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA is the empirical standard when gauging a commercial vehicle’s safety. According to the NHTSA, the 2020 Tahoe boasts five-star side-impact ratings and a four-star driver and passenger safety rating.

There is no doubt that every vehicle recall is a public relations nightmare for a company. It is in the best interest of both the consumer and company to drive safe vehicles with minimal risk of malfunctions. The safety concerns presented in the 2016 Chevy Tahoe prompted swift changes to Chevrolet and GM. With the release of the 2020 Tahoe, GM is indicating that safety is a top priority with their SUVs. If the 2020 Tahoe goes without another PR nightmare, GM may regain the consumer’s trust.