The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) office of defects has opened an investigation following the complaints of five owners due to an alleged defect in Ford F-150 seat belt pretensioners.
According to the NHTSA, the owners claimed that fires started in the trucks’ B pillars following crashes that caused the vehicles’ seat belt pretensioners to be activated. Three of the trucks were totaled by the fires, but the other two self-extinguished, according to the Vehicle Owner Questionnaires submitted to the ODI.
Pretensioners lock seat belts in place during a crash. Pyrotechnic pretensioners, which must be replaced after they are activated just like airbags, use small explosions to tighten loose seat belts to protect passengers during crashes in addition to locking the belts in place. Not all pretensioners use pyrotechnics; others types use mechanical or electrical locking mechanisms.
The seat belt pretensioners in the trucks were manufactured by either ZF TRW or Takata. Ford’s F-series trucks have been the best selling trucks in America for more than 40 years and the best-selling vehicle of any type for more than 30 years.
Ford sold almost 2.5 million F-series trucks from 2015 through 2017 and more than 500,000 trucks through July 2018, with five months to go. If all F-series trucks in the four years were to be recalled, the total number of vehicles involved would be close to 3.5 million.
If the ODI determines a recall is necessary due to a defect in the pretensioners, the number of vehicles would likely grow quickly to include other automakers that use pretensioners from the same manufacturers.
No fatalities or injuries were reported following the five complaints.
The Ford F-150 trucks involved in the reports and that are being recalled are the 2015-2018 Supercrew pickup trucks.
NHTSA estimated there are approximately 1,425,000 trucks with Supercrew-style cabs from those model years in the U.S.
Consumers can see if their vehicle is part of the recall by entering their VIN into NHTSA’s recall checker.
Drivers have enough to worry about while traversing the roadways on a daily basis. When a person gets behind the wheel of a car, there is a reasonable expectation that the car is going to perform in a matter that would not put the operator’s life in jeopardy. Unfortunately there are hundreds of vehicle recalls each year due to manufacturer defects, from the tires to the ignition switches, that can cause catastrophic injuries and in some cases death. If you or a loved one have been injured due to a defective part in a vehicle, contact Thomas J. Henry.
Our experienced defective vehicle lawyers have handled a multitude of injury claims caused by recalled vehicles. We continue to handle cases involving faulty and dangerous GM ignition switches and Takata airbags. Our firm has offices in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Austin, and Houston, serving clients across Texas and nationwide. Call us today for a free legal consultation — our attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends.