Not All Seat Belt Buckles Are Created Equal

When a person gets in an automobile and buckles their seat belt, the expectation is that the seat belt will remain buckled and restrain and protect them in the event of a motor vehicle collision, including a vehicle rollover. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Pope McGlamry is currently working on a yet another case involving a seat belt restraint failure in which an occupant was killed when he was ejected from a 2003 Ford Explorer Sport Trac XLT, equipped with a TRW RNS4G seat belt buckle.

TRW RNS4G Seat Belt Recall

In 2001, TRW Vehicle Safety Systems, Inc. (TRW), a supplier to Ford Motor Company, recalled a seat belt buckle system installed in certain Ford vehicles in response to reported failures of the seat belt to stay latched in a collision or even during normal driving.

What’s wrong with the RNS4G seat belt?

Tests performed by TRW found that certain seat belts had the propensity to unlatch, and not remain on the occupant as required under the federal motor vehicle safety standards, leaving passengers at risk of increased personal injury in the event of a wreck or sudden stop. This is because a seat belt buckle that is only partially engaged or latched will not fully engage and “lock” to restrain a passenger upon impact, and can spring open or come unbuckled upon impact, which can lead to the passenger impacting the interior of the vehicle or being ejected from the vehicle.

RNS4G Second Generation Seat Belt Failure

Although Ford and TRW recalled and replaced the first generation of RNS4G seat belt buckles, some consumers have experienced the same issues with the second generation TRW RNS4G buckle. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has received several complaints regarding these second generation seat belts and their “false latching” or partial engagement.

Contact Our Auto Defect Attorneys

Pope McGlamry urges all vehicle passengers to buckle up. To ensure that your seat belt is securely buckled, make sure to insert the latch plate into the buckle receptacle with force, rather than lightly inserting the plate. If you or a loved one have been injured in a motor vehicle incident as a result of a faulty, defective or malfunctioning seat belt, contact Pope McGlamry by calling 877-285-7656 submit a free online case evaluation.

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