The largest UK consumer interest body, Which?, is calling for the recall of cars that may have exploding seatbelts.
The organisation reports of four separate instances all involving the Peugeot 307 cc convertible cars made in 2003 and 2004. All the instances seem to follow the same pattern, and have left at least two drivers injured.
The drivers report that they were using their Peugeots in everyday low-speed conditions, when the pre-tensioners on the seatbelt suddenly activated with an explosive bang. Pre-tensioners are a relatively new invention that work with sensors in the bodywork to tighten the seatbelt immediately in the event of a collision, preventing the person from jerking forward.
As well as the pre-tensioners activating, the rollover hoops activated in the affected cars, and the engine cut off. All these safety features are designed to activate in the case of an accident.
The explosive seatbelts issue caused thousands of pounds of damage to the vehicles, and left several drivers with neck and back injuries. Now Which? are stating that an independent engineer has identified that the issue is caused by a water leak that hits the electrical systems of the vehicles.
The body is calling for a recall of all possibly affected vehicles to make them safe. However the VOSA (the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency) says the issue is not classed as a safety defect as a warning light displays on the dashboard before the seatbelts explode. Which? claim this is not the case in all cases.
The car firm is reportedly repairing vehicles affected but is not issuing a recall. The issue is already reportedly the subject of one product liability claim being made by an injured driver.