The average adult weighs about 155 pounds. That should be enough for a vehicle to determine if an adult is sitting in the front passenger seat, right? Apparently not in the case of more than one million recently recalled Nissan vehicles.
On Wednesday, Nissan announced the recall of 1,053,479 vehicles — 989,000 in the U.S. alone — to fix a software problem that could deactivate the front passenger airbag, Reuters reports.
Affected vehicles include the 2013-14 Altima, Sentra and Pathfinder, 2013-14 Leaf electric car, 2013 Infinity JX35, 2014 Infinity Q50 and QX60, and 2013 Nissan NV 200 cargo van.
An issue with the vehicle occupant classification system (OCS) software may not properly determine the presence of an adult front seat passenger. The system then automatically deactivates the passenger airbag, which would increase the risk of injury during a crash, according to documents [PDF] filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
A report by Nissan [PDF] notes that a number of circumstances could lead to the incorrect vacant classification, including high vibration at idle when the seat is empty and then becomes occupied, or unusual occupant seating postures.
Nissan began an investigation into the issue in early 2013, but could not determine if a safety defect had occurred. According to papers filed with NHTSA, last month the company determined an algorithm change to the OCS was necessary. It was unclear if any injuries had been reported in connection with the recall.
To fix the issue dealers will perform a software update free of charge. Owners of affected vehicles will be notified beginning in mid-April.
Wednesday’s recall marks the second for Nissan this year. In February, company recalled nearly 14,000 Frontier trucks after it was determined that improperly installed circuit breakers posed a potential fire risk.