Laguna Hills, CA – July 3, 2019 – Jaguar Land Rover North America is recalling certain Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models due to a seat belt locking issue that may prevent drivers and passengers from adequately strapping themselves in. This flaw could increase the risk of injury pending operators’ potential involvement in a crash. Owners will be formally instructed to bring their SUV back to their area dealer so the assembly can be either repaired or replaced. The fix will come at no cost, as per usual for most safety recalls.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the automaker seeks to recall 16,186 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport vehicles, whose model years span between 2016 and 2017. The genesis of the order stems from an apparent flaw with the driver’s seat belt emergency locking retractor. This component is what gives seat belts its protective capability, as when the brake is applied, it triggers the ELR’s locking mechanism, which is sensitive to movement. Some of these assemblies, however, may fail to perform should motorists be involved in a car accident.
Timeline of Events
This issue first came to the automaker’s attention in November 2016, informed through NHTSA of a customer who noted that the ELR wasn’t triggering when the brakes on the vehicle were applied. Jaguar Land Rover coordinated with its seat belt supplier Autoliv, and they mutually determined that the safety flaw warranted further inquiry, which revealed that this was not an isolated incident. A customer from another automaker that partners with Autoliv also filed a 49 CFR 573 report regarding a malfunctioning ELR mechanism.
An ensuing investigation revealed that some of the CLRs were not in compliance with existing federal safety regulations. However, they determined that the issues would not fundamentally increase the risk of an injury. NHTSA felt otherwise, and in May, ordered Jaguar Land Rover to conduct a recall on 2016-2017 Land Rover and Range Rover Sport models out of an abundance of caution. No known injuries or deaths have resulted from the flaw.
Seat belts are believed to save thousands of motorists’ and passengers’ lives each year. Indeed, according to the most recent statistics available from NHTSA, the national seat belt usage rate in 2018 was nearly 90%, up from 88% in 2015 and 85% in 2010. In 2000, seat belt compliance was just 70%. In most states, seat belts are primary laws, meaning that drivers can be pulled over by traffic enforcement officers for not buckling up. In primary law states, the usage rate is higher than those where seat belt laws are secondary (90% to 86%, respectively).
In 2017, an estimated 14,955 fatal accidents were avoided in the U.S. thanks to motorists wearing their seat belts at the time of a crash.
Starting July 1, Land Rover will inform motorists of the vehicles in question by first-class mail in order to make them aware that their automobile may have the flawed seat belt assembly. A follow-up notice will be distributed once the automaker determines the proper solution. When the subsequent notification will commence has yet to be determined, but as noted above, the repair will be free.
For more information on this recall and to see if you may be affected, enter your VIN at MotorSafety.org.