Nearly One Million Hyundai Vehicles Recalled for Defective Seatbelts
Hyundai has issued a massive recall for about 978,000 of its Sonata and Sonata Hybrid vehicles from the 2011-2015 model years for potential seatbelt defects. According to news reports and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the seatbelts in these vehicles might detach during a car crash. The seatbelts were manufactured by ZF-TRW in Livonia, Michigan. However, the problem with the components appears to be in the way they were installed by Hyundai employees.
NHTSA’s defect report explains the problem thus. The front seatbelt assembly in the Hyundai Sonata incorporates a seatbelt anchor pretensioner fastened to the vehicle’s inner sill structure. When the vehicle is assembled, the anchor pretensioner is fastened to the sill before being connected to the seatbelt linkage. If during assembly, the connector does not fully latch when the linkage is pressed onto the connector, the seatbelt can detach from the anchor pretensioner.
No Reported Injuries So Far
So far, Hyundai has received at least two reports from owners about seatbelts detaching during collisions. One of those crashes resulted in an unspecified minor injury. Hyundai as well as the seatbelt manufacturer are continuing to investigate the matter. Hyundai has recalled 2011-2014 Hyundai Sonata models and 2011-2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid models.
The recall involves 977,778 vehicles that are registered in the U.S. Vehicle owners will receive recall notices in the mail beginning April 7. When that happens, owners can take their vehicles to the dealerships where the repairs will be made to the seat restraint system at no charge to consumers. For more information call Hyundai at 1-855-371-9460.
Investigating Crashes Involving Seatbelt Failure
If you are involved in a car crash where you or a loved one was injured because of seatbelt failure, it is important that you contact an auto defect law firm that has significant experience handling such cases and conducting independent investigations into auto defect issues. It is important to remember that police agencies often may not have the knowledge or the resources to conduct investigations relating to defective auto parts.
So, they may in haste determine that someone was not wearing a seatbelt when in fact the seat restraint system may have failed and ejected the victim from the vehicle. In such cases, the body of the ejected person must be examined for evidence of seatbelt bruising and marking. The webbing needs to be microscopically examined for grabber marks, bloodstains and other signs that would indicate that the seatbelt was in use at the time of the crash. An experienced auto defect lawyer will be able to advise victims and their families regarding the best course of action in such cases.