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Retrofitted seatbelt safety alert - update

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

Following the release of a safety alert in October this year, further investigation of seatbelts imported by Business Ventures Limited (BVL) has found that more replacement seatbelts being provided by the company, though labelled as compliant, do not meet approved safety standards.

The Transport Agency is advising vehicle owners that if retrofitted BVL seatbelts (manufactured by either Changzhou BWD or Jiang Su Jiu Jiu Traffic Facilities Co. Ltd.) are fitted in their vehicle in the driver’s seat, they do not use their vehicle until replacements are fitted. If fitted in other seating positions, the advice is not to allow passengers to use those seats.

Seatbelts imported by Business Ventures Limited (BVL) manufactured by either Changzhou BWD China or by Jiang Su Jiu Jiu Traffic Facilities Co. Ltd. can be identified by a label located on the seatbelt strap (see the safety alert(external link) here). BVL seatbelts are mostly used for retrofitting into modified vehicles such as vans, buses and motorhomes.

They are also commonly used to replace damaged or worn original vehicle seatbelts. BVL seatbelts are not installed by major automotive companies when vehicles are newly manufactured.

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

BVL has recently agreed to undertake a safety recall covering the BVL/Changzhou BWD labelled seatbelts. The NZ Transport Agency is working with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to assist BVL to initiate a further recall to cover the Jiang Su Jiu Jiu labelled seatbelts.The Transport Agency has also provided information about all of the substandard seatbelts to the Commerce Commission.

The Transport Agency has 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.

The Transport Agency is not aware of any failures involving BVL-imported seatbelts in New Zealand or overseas.

Vehicle owners and operators who have purchased BVL seatbelts are advised to contact the reseller from whom they purchased the seatbelt for advice on getting them replaced with a safe alternative. Alternatively, they can contact Business Ventures Limited directly on info@bvl.co.nz or 09 574 6724.

Information on how to identify a BVL seatbelt manufactured by Changzhou BWD or Jiang Su Jiu Jiu Traffic Facilities Co. Ltd. is detailed in the updated Transport Agency’s safety alert(external link).

Full information is available at: www.nzta.govt.nz/bvl-retrofitted-seatbelts(external link), and https://www.recalls.govt.nz/recall/nzta-retrofit-seatbelt-safety-alert(external link)

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