A major car maker is recalling more than 200,000 vehicles due to faulty seatbelt pretensioners. During a crash, the seatbelt pretensioner may “deploy abnormally,” causing metal fragments to injure the driver or passengers.
To ensure safe transportation of the recalled parts, car dealerships and service shops must recognize that seatbelt pretensioners are regulated as hazardous materials in transportation.
NHTSA Recall Notice (May 19, 2022)
Why Are Seatbelts Hazmat?
A seatbelt pretensioner activates when it senses the vehicle decelerate abruptly. An explosive or electrical charge moves a piston, which spins a spool that holds the seatbelt fabric. This tightens the belt to limit movement during an accident.
We see how the seatbelt mechanism works in this video clip, courtesy of the Slo-Mo Guys YouTube channel. Red paint was added for visual effect.
Typically, safety devices (including seatbelt pretensioners) may be shipped as Class 9 hazardous materials under UN 3268 when they meet specific design and testing standards (49 CFR 173.166(b)(1)).
The phrase “explosive safety device” may sound
like an oxymoron, but hazardous materials play a crucial role in protecting drivers and passengers. Like seatbelt pretensioners, car airbags
utilize an explosive charge to deploy instantly.
Vehicles Affected by the Recall
The recall of seatbelt pretensioners impacts about 1% of the following vehicles:
- Hyundai Accent (2019—2022 model years)
- Elantra (2021—2023), and
- Elantra HEV (2021—2022)
To fix the defect, the automaker will secure the device’s micro gas generator and delivery system to control the deployment of gas during an accident.
This is not the first time that seatbelt pretensioners have been subject to recall action. In 2018, Ford recalled about two million F-150 trucks following reports of smoking seatbelt pretensioners.
Hazmat Auto Parts Shipper Training
Learn the requirements that apply to safety devices like seatbelt pretensioners and airbag modules/inflators, both regulated as hazardous materials when shipped by ground, air, or vessel. The Shipping Automotive Airbags and Other Safety Devices online course is available when you want, where you want.
Access training from any internet connection, stop and start as needed to fit your schedule, and receive a trusted hazmat training Certificate from Lion Technology when you complete the course.