USA: NHTSA probes Ford Explorer two door rear seat belts
Citing agency spokesman Rae Tyson, Bloomberg said that the NHTSA is investigating a "compliance issue" on the two-door Explorer Sport and Mercury Mountaineer sport-utilities. Although Ford says the rear seat has two belts because it's designed for only two people, a third person sometimes sits in the rear seat and the agency has reports of 11 crashes involving 10 deaths and 20 injuries.
Citing Ford spokeswoman Sara Tatchio, Bloomberg News said that Ford tells customers that the two-door model is intended to seat a total of four people. "There's a seat belt for every seating position," Tatchio told the news agency, adding that Ford provided information sought by NHTSA in mid-July.
Some reports yesterday said there was consumer confusion over how many people the rear seat should accommodate. Despite the provision of only two belts, the seat is wide enough for three people and is not shaped to discourage a third person from using it.
Tyson told Bloomberg that the NHTSA is looking at 1991 to 2001 models as well
as the redesigned 2002 Explorer.