Modern motor vehicles contain many safety devices. Drivers and passengers count on these products functioning properly. Unfortunately, defects can sometimes arise in connection to auto safety devices. When such products are defective, they might not be able to protect an occupant the way they are supposed to. However, this is not the only type of harm that can be caused by auto safety device defects. Sometimes, such a defect creates whole new safety risks.
This is illustrated in a recent vehicle recall involving seat belts.
The recall is by Ford, and involves around two million of the automaker’s pickup trucks. The trucks are F-150s of the 2015 to 2018 model years sold in North America.
The recall is in connection to something one might not normally connect to seat belts, fire risks. Reportedly, there is a problem with a part of the seat belts in the affected trucks. These parts are called the pretensioners. According to Ford, the seat belt pretensioners in the affected vehicles contain faults that could create fire risks when they tighten prior to a crash. Specifically, the faults could lead to insulation and carpet fires.
Ford started receiving reports of the issue in 2017. A little over a month ago, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began an investigation of the issue.
According to Ford, there have been 23 reports from the U.S. and Canada of fire or smoke in connection to this seat belt problem. Ford says it has not seen any reports of injuries occurring in relation to the issue.
There is a fix to the issue that dealers will be providing to owners of affected vehicles as part of the recall.
As this illustrates, the range of risks that can arise in relation to defects in auto safety devices is quite wide. When individuals suffer any kind of harm in connection to a problem with a seat belt or other auto safety product, it can be critical for them to be aware of their rights and the legal options they have. Product liability lawyers can provide guidance on such issues.