Tesla Model X Seat Belt Issue Sees Preliminary Investigation by NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened a probe into 50,000 Tesla Model X units, following two reports of front seatbelt issues, according to Reuters.

The initial investigation of the issue applies only to Model X units with the 2022-2023 model years, with an issue that causes the front seatbelt to become disengaged from the seatbelt anchor. The investigation was opened on March 24, 2023.

Tesla’s Model X units from the two model years may include anchor linkages that aren’t correctly adhered to. None of the reports included a collision related to the seatbelt issue, according to the NHTSA.

In one of the complaints, coming from a driver in Larkspur, California, the Model X had been going between 10 and 15 miles per hour, when the driver of a nearby truck parked on the side of the road opened the door unexpectedly. The door caused the Tesla’s automatic braking system to activate, moving the driver forward suddenly and disconnecting the seatbelt.

“With the sudden deceleration, my upper body flung forward and the force of my weight caused the seat belt anchor on the lower seat to detach completely,” the driver said in the NHTSA complaint.

The NHTSA’s investigation will help determine whether the complaint should be upgraded to an engineering analysis, at which point the agency would be able to issue a recall.

Tesla’s front seats incorporate outboard pretensioners secured to the seat frame, designed to be disconnected with a special tool. The two allegations suggest that the connection failure occurred at this point.

The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has opened a Preliminary Evaluation (PE) to assess the scope, frequency, and manufacturing processes associated with this issue. The investigation, titled “PE 23-006,” is being led by Investigator Roy Nelson and will determine if further action is necessary to address this potential safety concern.

In recent weeks, the NHTSA has also asked Tesla to deploy a software update over some concerns surrounding its Full Self-Driving (FSD) system’s behavior in intersections.