Kiwi motorists are being warned to check the labels of any retrofitted seatbelts they have in their vehicles, after a Chinese brand has been deemed unsafe.
The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) is advising anyone with a Business Ventures Limited (BVL) seatbelt to not drive until they are replaced.
After being alerted to a potential safety risk in October, an investigation by NZTA found that BVL seatbelts, although labelled as compliant, do not meet New Zealand safety standards.
The BVL brand can be identified by a label located on the seatbelt strap and BVL seatbelts are mostly used for retrofitting modified vehicles such as vans, buses and motorhomes.
BVL seatbelts are also commonly used to replace damaged or worn original vehicle seatbelts, but are not installed by major automotive companies when vehicles are newly manufactured.
When checking for the BVL label, motorists should also check for belts under the same company, but manufactured by: Changzhou BWD China or by Jiang Su Jiu Jiu Traffic Facilities Co. Ltd.
NZTA has also instructed vehicle inspectors to fail a vehicle for its Warrant of Fitness (WoF) or Certificate of Fitness (CoF) inspection if BVL seatbelts are installed in it.
However despite the safety recall, NZTA 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.
They can also contact Business Ventures Limited directly on firstname.lastname@example.org or (09) 574 6724.
BVL has recently agreed to undertake a safety recall covering the BVL/Changzhou BWD labelled seatbelts.