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Retrofitted seatbelt safety alert

Retrofitted seatbelt safety alert

The NZ Transport Agency is urging vehicle owners who have retrofitted seatbelts to check the labels on their seatbelts following safety concerns leading to a recall.

Seatbelts imported by Business Ventures Limited (BVL) and manufactured by Changzhou BWD, China can be identified by a label located on the seatbelt strap. These seatbelts are the subject of an urgent Transport Agency safety alert following Transport Agency tests indicating they do not meet an approved safety standard.

NZ Transport Agency General Manager Customer Design and Delivery Charles Ronaldson says BVL/Changzhou BWD seatbelts are mostly used for retrofitting into modified vehicles such as motorhomes, buses and vans. They are also commonly used to replace original vehicle seatbelts if they’ve been damaged and fail a vehicle inspection. BVL/Changzhou seatbelts are not installed by major automotive companies when vehicles are newly manufactured.

“After being alerted to the potential safety risk, we commissioned and attended an independent testing of the seatbelts. These test results indicated that although the belts are labelled as compliant, they actually do not meet an approved safety standard.”

The failures identified in testing were related to over-the-shoulder belts that have a ‘d-ring’ guide and retractor. Most lap belts do not have these features and are not being including in this safety alert.

“Safety is top our priority - we are urging people that if BVL/Changzhou BWD seatbelts are fitted in their vehicle’s driver seat, that they do not use their vehicle until replacements are fitted. If fitted in other seating positions, we are urging people not to allow passengers to use those seats. We have also instructed vehicle inspectors to fail a vehicle for its Warrant of Fitness (WoF) or Certificate of Fitness (CoF) inspection if these seatbelts are identified in a vehicle,” says Mr Ronaldson.

The Transport Agency has spoken with BVL who have agreed to undertake a safety recall, and will be working with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to monitor the recall. The Transport Agency is not aware of any other non-compliant seatbelts supplied to the marketplace in New Zealand.

If vehicle owners and operators have purchased a BVL/Changzhou BWD seatbelt we recommend they talk to the retailer they purchased it from. If vehicle owners purchased a vehicle with the seatbelts already fitted, we recommend they talk directly to BVL.

Information on how to identify a BVL/Changzhou BWD seatbelt is detailed in the NZTA’s safety alert here:

Further information is also available at: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/assets/Vehicles/Safety-alert-seatlbelts-FAQs-October-2018.pdf

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