UPDATED: Reports of Seatbelt Malfunctions Prompt Investigation into Stallion Motorcoaches
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened a defect investigation into model year 2014 Stallion 900 motorcoaches.
NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has been in contact with an operator of a fleet of the buses that has experienced multiple incidents of the driver and passenger seatbelt buckle assemblies failing to unlatch.
These failures are identified in four complaints filed with NHTSA. The seatbelts, manufactured by Taizhou TIANDA Rope and Belt Co., are original equipment on certain Stallion 900 motorcoaches. NHTSA reports that preliminary evaluation by ODI suggests that two significantly different designs exist of the seatbelt buckle assembly in question.
At this time, NHTSA says that the failures appear to be limited to one of the two designs. According to the agency, it is not yet clear if there is a predecessor/successor relationship between the two designs, and if so which is the predecessor.
ODI has been informed of multiple incidents that involved passengers having to be cut out of their seatbelts, according to NHTSA.
NHTSA says that ODI is aware of no injuries at this time and is opening this investigation to gather additional information to assess whether the subject vehicles contain a safety related defect.
The ODI reports cited above can be reviewed at www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov under the following identification (ODI) numbers: 10631019, 10632409, 10633199 and 10633213.
ODI's preliminary evaluation into the alleged buckle failures suggested that two significantly different buckle assembly designs existed for a single part number, 67RB1-04021. The initial investigation showed that the buckle failures appeared to be limited to the earlier design.
Shortly after ODI opened its investigation, Taizhou Tianda Rope & Belt Co. Ltd decided to recall the earlier design buckles (safety recall 15E-016). Based on this action by the manufacturer, this investigation has been closed.
Owners with further questions can contact NHTSA's Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236, or go to www.safercar.gov.