Safety Inspectors Looking into Defective Seatbelts on Polaris Slingshot Motorcycles
Inspectors with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are looking into whether seatbelts on a model of Polaris Industries’ Slingshot motorcycles are defective, allowing them to mistakenly release during crashes. According to a report in the Star Tribune, federal officials opened an investigation in September after a man was killed in Michigan last summer when the 2015 Slingshot he was driving hit another vehicle.
Seatbelt Failure Causes Partial Ejection
The police report in that case stated that the three-wheeled cycle veered while making a lane change and slid into oncoming traffic where it was struck by a vehicle heading in the opposite direction. The driver was wearing his seatbelt and helmet when he was partially ejected from the Slingshot. The man’s family filed a complaint with NHTSA stating that the vehicle’s seatbelt retractor exploded during the crash allowing the seatbelt to release. The man reportedly died from a severed spinal cord.
The complaint said because of the seatbelt failure, the man’s family was certain that Polaris would voluntarily recall all vehicles equipped with the flawed safety device. But the company issued no such recall. The NHTSA evaluation hopes to determine if a defect in the seatbelts of about 4,800 2015 Polaris Slingshots prevents them from properly restraining occupants during crashes. Michigan-based Key Safety Systems Inc. manufactured the seatbelts for Polaris.
News of this investigation comes just a month since Polaris issued its 11th recall of the year. The most recent recall affected about 2,800 of its Scrambler vehicles due to throttle-switch problems that could lead to crashes. Just in the last two and a half years, Polaris has recalled more than 420,000 vehicles due to mechanical or fire problems.
Product Liability Issues
As auto defect lawyers, we are hardly surprised that Polaris issued no voluntary recall even after a man lost his life because the seatbelt in their motorcycle failed to work as it was supposed to work. Product manufacturers hesitate to issue recalls not only because they are terribly expensive, but also because it’s a PR black eye for them. Consumers are the ones who ultimately suffer because they are not aware of the dangers posed by these products.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to defective auto, please contact an experienced auto product liability attorney who will remain on your side, fight for your rights and hold the negligent automaker accountable for their faulty products.