Federal regulators have launched a probe into whether to recall about 313,000 2013 Hyundai Sonatas after reports that the front passenger seatbelt broke loose in a crash. According to a report on Forbes.com, the investigation was prompted by complaints from two owners. In each of those cases, the vehicle owners reported that front passenger seatbelt broke away from its anchoring point on the floor. There was one injury, but its seriousness is not known.
Seatbelt Breaks Loose in Crash
One of the vehicle owners was from Buena Park, Orange County, and stated in his complaint to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that another vehicle ran a red light and struck his vehicle at 45 mph. He said the passenger seatbelt failed at the point where the lap restraint attaches to the car running board.
The passenger who was wearing the seatbelt during the accident was 110 pounds while the driver was 270 pounds. While the driver’s seatbelt worked, the passenger’s failed. It is not clear how serious the passenger’s injuries were. This investigation is only a preliminary evaluation of the reported problem. If investigators determine that there is more reason for concern, they would upgrade it to an engineering analysis, which almost always results in a vehicle recall.
The Danger of Seatbelt Failure
When a seatbelt fails during a crash, the consequences can be devastating. We count on seatbelts to protect us in the event of a crash. However, when they fail, occupants of a vehicle could get partially or fully ejected from the vehicle, and that can result in major injuries or even fatalities. Some of the injuries that can occur due to seatbelt failure include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord trauma, multiple broken bones, internal organ damage, amputations, etc.
The Importance of an Investigation
Our auto defect lawyers know that a number of local law enforcement agencies don’t have the expertise or the resources to thoroughly investigate accident cases that involve seatbelt failure. If you or a loved one has been injured in a similar accident, it is important that you preserve the vehicle in its current condition, unaltered, so an accident reconstruction expert can thoroughly examine it for evidence of defects and malfunctions.
Injured victims can seek compensation by filing an auto product liability claim against the automaker and/or the manufacturer of the defective seatbelt. Contact an experienced auto defect law firm to obtain more information about pursuing your rights.