Consumer complaints about Honda Odyssey third-row seats are continuing to pile up after the death of 16-year-old Kyle Plush, a high school student, who was asphyxiated when the seat flipped on top of him and pinned him against the closed rear hatchback door. According to a report in The Cincinnati Enquirer, which is investigating the matter, from Florida to California, Odyssey owners have complained about seat-stability problems with these popular minivans. Vehicle owners have said they had problems getting the back-row seats to securely latch in place or said that the seats slammed down when unlatched.
Seats Won’t Lock in Place
The Enquirer investigated prior third-row seat complaints after Plush’s April 10 death. A Cincinnati motorist complained to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that the third-row seats don’t latch properly when converting from stow-away to upright seating position. The driver filed this complaint on Dec. 19.
A motorist from Fort Myers, Florida, also told regulators they had trouble securing their seat in place. The motorist said the third row seat “will not lock in place.” Jessica Chavarria, a motorist from California, said at 5-foot-2, she has trouble getting her Honda van’s third-row seat locked into place. She says it’s impossible for her because the third row won’t lock properly unless a bigger, heavier person slams it.
Lack of Action
NHTSA and Honda officials have said they have not seen a pattern in the Odyssey third-row seat complaints and stressed they straddle different years and generations of the vehicle. But, safety advocates point out that these mounting complaints could indicate a lingering defect that hasn’t been addressed by the automaker.
Honda officials said their seats are under warranty for three years after the automaker recommends motorists see their dealership for a repair. A Honda spokesperson said it is possible that some components could have worn out or become damaged over time. Since The Enquirer’s investigation, several lawmakers have called for further scrutiny of the accident that killed Kyle Plush.
The Urgency to Save Lives
Our auto defect lawyers join advocates in calling for a thorough and detailed investigation into these Honda Odyssey third-row seats that have caused at least one tragic death. Saying there is “no pattern” is an irresponsible way of dealing with the issue. Honda should step up to the plate and come up with a fix for this problem. That is the responsible thing to do and the right action to take. If you or a loved one has been injured due to these or other vehicle defects, please contact an experienced auto defect attorney to explore your legal rights and options.