Heated Vehicle Seats Pose Real Safety Threat

Over the years more and more things have been added to cars. From rear backup cameras to remote starters, yesterday’s luxuries have become today’s standards. Long commutes have been made much more bearable with such nice amenities. During the cold winter months, no amenity is appreciated quite as much as heated car seats. But with risks of burns to those using them, it begs the question as to whether they are even worth it.

A Lack of Safety Standards

Per the advocacy group, Safety Research and Strategies Group, a lack of regulation for these seats has left consumers more open to injuries. The only standards that car manufacturers are held to are company-written and voluntary, which does little to no good. This means that even though there have been many well-documented complaints about burns from heated vehicle seats, there has been no governing regulation to warn or recall based upon potential dangers.

Over a period of six years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received almost 140 complaints of heated seats malfunctioning, including half of those resulting in fires. Complaints issued range from seats that will not warm up whatsoever, to seats that get so hot it is dangerous to sit on them for risk of burning oneself.

Temperatures Far Exceed Manufacturers’ Claims

Although manufacturers claim that the seat heaters reach between 86 and 113 degrees Fahrenheit, they have been shown at times to reach upwards of 150 degrees. Within 10 minutes at 120 degrees an individual can experience third-degree burns. For those with the inability to feel the temperature at the time, this can prove even more dangerous. Those who have been diagnosed with conditions such as paralysis, diabetes, and neuropathy are less like to feel the heat in their lower extremities. It is because of these reasons that safety advocates are pushing for mandatory, strict temperature regulations, proposing a cap at 105.

Cadillac Recalls Sedan Over Seat Heaters

Most recently, about 54,000 2014-2016 the Cadillac CTS sedans were recalled over their seat heaters, which the company said may catch fire. According to GM, the issue comes from the seats’ ability to begin heating even without an occupant – using a remote starter could do this, as could cold weather. GM explained that high electrical resistance could cause the heater pad in the seat to overheat.

As is pretty standard, GM did not immediately alert owners to the issue and did not give a time when it planned on doing so. However, dealers were notified in September that the recall was occurring soon.

What Can You Do?

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a seated heat malfunction, it is important to seek out an experienced personal injury attorney who understands the nuances associated with products liability, and can help you to get what it is that you deserve. Call Surovell Isaacs & Levy, PLC today to see how our attorneys can do just that.


Posted in: Personal Injury