August 23, 2019

On May 29, NHTSA Published in the Federal Register its Denial of a Motor Vehicle Defect Petition Regarding the Rollover Performance of 2010 Chevrolet Tahoes and All Similar Vehicles

DATES:  This Decision of NHTSA does not require any period for comments.  The Petition was filed on August 6, 2014.

SUMMARY OF CLAIM:  The Petitioner claimed there were several defects in 2010 Chevrolet Tahoes including:

  • “Safety” belts
  • Roof Strength
  • Containment/Glazing
  • The Rollover Side Curtain Air Bags (RSCABs) Lacked Tethers

NHTSA RATIONALE FOR DENIAL:

Although the petitioner claims the fatal occupant was wearing her 3-point seat belt based on forensic and other evidence, the police accident report and GM’s analysis indicate she and the two other ejected occupants were not restrained at the time of the crash.  Based upon all the evidence available, ODI could not reasonably determine whether or not the fatal occupant was wearing her seat belt and that any potential defect in the seat belt system exists.

No data was submitted in support of roof strength allegation.

The petition alleged that the side window design was defective because the glazing fractured during the crash and the window opening provided an exit path through which occupants could leave the vehicle during a rollover. However, no data was provided in support of this conclusory allegation, and ODI was unable to determine how this material supports the commencement of a defect investigation by NHTSA.

NHTSA believes that the RSCABs were designed to the state of the art at the time the vehicle was manufactured.  Although the 2010 Tahoe was not required to meet FMVSS 226-Rollover Protection, NHTSA had conducted tests on the Tahoes in the development of that standard.  NHTSA did not believe that the performance of the side curtain air bags in the Tahoes did not stand out from the performance of side curtain air bags in other similar model year vehicles. 

ODI also examined complaint, claim, and crash data relating to the petitioner’s claims.  Again the Tahoes had similar performance to other peer vehicles.

NHTSA CONCLUSION

“Based on the information available at the present time, NHTSA does not believe that a safety-related defect currently exists in the design of the rollover side curtain air bags in the MY 2010 Chevrolet Tahoe and other similarly designed Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon vehicles. Therefore, the petition is denied. However, the agency will take further action if warranted by changing future circumstances.”