by Christopher Jensen
More than three years after Toyota first learned that its curtain-shield air bags could deploy without a crash, the automaker is recalling almost 308,000 sport utility vehicles.
The recall covers about 214,000 RAV4s from the 2007-8 model years and 94,000 Highlander and Highlander hybrids from 2008, the automaker informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Thursday.
The curtain shield is a tubular air bag mounted in the roof, just above the windows. In a side-impact crash or rollover, it is designed to provide head protection for front and rear-seat passengers. It deploys with less force than frontal air bags.
N.H.T.S.A. has eight complaints on its Web site from owners reporting inadvertent deployments, but the safety agency never began an investigation. Five of those complaints were filed last year.