Recaro Recalls Car Seats After Battle With Safety Regulators

After more than a year and a half of resistance, child safety seat manufacturer Recaro has finally decided to recall more than 173,000 unsafe car seats.

The National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration (NHSTA) discovered the problem in late 2013 during a series of routine crash tests. The tests revealed that a part that helps keep the top of the seat secure could break in the event of a crash, allowing the top of the seat to fly forward. This flaw was deemed a serious safety violation, and federal regulators required the company to recall the product.

Recaro, however, did not agree, and filed a petition with regulators asserting that there was no safety problem. They argued that the tests were inconclusive because they were performed with a dummy larger than specified by the owner’s manual for relying on the tether strap alone. For a child the size of the dummy, they claimed, the seat should instead be secured with a seat belt.

Recaro then switched to another tactic, claiming that the fact that the part is likely to break during a collision is not necessarily a bad thing, and that materials that crumple, break, or collapse might actually increase the rate of survival in a collision. Unconvinced by this logic, regulators informed the company that advice in their owner’s manual was not an acceptable substitute for compliance with federal safety standards. The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety have criticized Recaro’s arguments, claiming that their primary focus was not on safety, but merely avoiding an expensive recall.

Last week, Recaro finally changed its position on the safety of their product and recalled the seats. Recaro’s president cited a focus on “safety and protection” in recalling both the PerformanceRide and Recaro ProRide seats, which they are calling a “voluntary recall” despite evidence to the contrary.

Dangerous products are responsible for a large number of injuries and deaths every year in the United States. If you or someone you know has been hurt by a defective product, you may be able to pursue compensation for costs related to your injury. To speak with a Houston personal injury lawyer from the Law Office of Daniel D. Horowitz, III, P.C., please call today for a free case evaluation.