Seat Belt Defect: Cause of Thousands of Fatal Car Crashes Annually

If the same problem has been the reason why a group of vehicles of the same design has been involved in an accident, then it may be necessary that such vehicle be recalled. Vehicle recalls, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), may be necessary:

  • If the defect complained about poses a risk to the safety of the driver, passengers or anyone else on the road
  • If the vehicle itself or any of its parts does not comply with the minimum performance requirement set by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). These standards help make sure that a vehicle can be operated safely and that the driver and passengers would have enough protection from serious injury or death in the event of a crash. Thus, there are standards for tires, brakes, lighting, child restraints, air bags and safety belts, among others.

Vehicle recalls usually happen due to complaints consumers make to the vehicle manufacturer or to the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI), a department of the NHTSA. Regarding safety belts or seat belts for example, Chrysler, specifically, is said to have recalled (in October of 2014) about 184,215 SUVs around the globe due to defective airbags and seat belts; this is besides the more than 850,000 Ford vehicles that were recalled a month earlier due to the same problems.

Seat belts are still considered the best protection for drivers and passengers during car accidents. This is because these crash-safety devices protect drivers and passengers from hitting with great force any of a car’s interior parts (such as a door window, dashboard, or windshield) after the primary impact, that is when a car hits another vehicle or object. But while seat belts may be said to save thousands of lives, there have also been instances when it was rather the cause of injury or death – due to defects.

A defective or malfunctioning seat belt, may be due to poor manufacturing or poor design, can cause a person to suffer serious injuries during a secondary impact (when he or she slams into an interior part of a vehicle, or is thrown outside, smashing into the windshield and then with whatever thing in the exterior environment). In fact, every year, at least 10,000 (of the more than 30,000) individuals who die in car crashes are said to have died due to faulty seat belts.

The Massachusetts car accident lawyers at Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, know for a fact that all those who purchase vehicles fully assume that the vehicle, with all its parts, is in good operating condition, has complied with all the safety requirements set by the FMVSS and is free of any defect. While it can be said that no one more than the manufacturers would want their vehicles to be defective and, worse, be the cause of accidents and injuries, thorough tests on their vehicles’ design and performance may just show a flaw they never think might exist. In short, despite the never-intended defects, once an accident occurs, its consequences would be on their shoulders.

The website yvonnefraserlaw.com also shares vital information on accident victims’ right to file a lawsuit against manufacturers of defective vehicles in order to seek compensation for all the injuries, pains, sufferings and damages resulting from the accident.

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