Auto Industry Working On Seat Heater-Related Injury Protection

SEAT HEATER-RELATED INJURYThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had requested the auto industry to work on ways to help reduce the risk of seat heater-related injuries. Most injuries occur in people with some sort of paralysis, due to the sensory deprivation associated with the condition. Quadriplegics and paraplegias are not able to feel whether or not a seat is getting too hot, which has been shown to lead to burn injuries.

A Society of Automotive Engineers committee is considering ways to eliminate a passenger’s need to manually shut-off the seat heater or lower the temperature. Among the proposals are a maximum temperature setting for seat heaters that would be standard across the industry. The committee is also considering automatic shut-off features.

Although the rate of injury from seat heaters is extremely low, and there is no major safety concern linked to them, according to the NHTSA, the fact that many vulnerable persons are getting injured simply because they are unable to tell that the temperature has become too high is cause for concern, and personal injury attorneys have been seeing more cases of burn-related claims.

Since 1984 alone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received more than 1,260 complaints regarding seat heaters. Almost all of these complaints were linked to overheating of the seats, and in at least 287 of these cases, the persons on the seats were injured. In 512 of the cases, the seat got heated enough to cause a fire.

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