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2017-2018 CR-Vs sold as safely seating five people, but lawsuit says seat belts are configured wrong

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Honda CR-V Seating Capacity of Five is False: Lawsuit
2017-2018 CR-Vs sold as safely seating five people, but lawsuit says seat belts are configured wrong

— A Honda CR-V seating capacity lawsuit alleges 2017-2018 CR-Vs don't have 3-point seat belts in all seating positions, something that makes the marketing of a seating capacity of five blatantly false.

According to the lawsuit, the rear seat belts are configured so that only two back seat passengers can properly buckle their seat belts at any given time. This causes a safety danger as it prevents customers from safely seating five people in a CR-V at any given time.

Plaintiff Bill Schepler says he purchased a 2018 Honda CR-V in December 2017 because he has three grandchildren and wanted a vehicle with a seating capacity of five for him, his wife and their grandchildren.

The plaintiff says he soon realized the rear driver’s side seat belt buckle was “backward” and the rear driver’s side passenger could not buckle the seat belt without overlapping the middle passenger’s anchor buckle.

Schepler took his CR-V to the dealership in May 2018 for help with the problem and technicians photographed the buckle configuration and sent the picture to Honda.

In addition, technicians allegedly sent a message to Honda that said the CR-V cannot have three rear passengers in the back seat at the same time because the seat belts overlap and twist.

In the end, Honda didn't repair or correct the seat belt issues, leaving the plaintiff unable to safely transport back seat passengers.

Mr. Schepler isn't the only CR-V owner who has noticed the safety dangers of the configuration.

"The rear left and middle seat belts overlap. The vehicle is advertised as a 5 seater vehicle but cannot safely be used for 5 passengers, or with a car seat in either of those seats with a passenger in the other one.

"My brand new 2017 CRV touring appears to have the detachable anchor for the 2nd row center seat belt crossed with the 2nd row left seat belt buckle. This configuration causes the center belt and the left seat belt to cross one another and also makes it difficult for the left seat passenger to connect or disconnect their seat belt with the center passenger buckled in."

The owner went on to complain the seat belt situation doesn't allow the person sitting behind the driver to wear their seat belt when their child seat is buckled into the center because the buckle cannot be accessed.

"This is a huge safety concern as I travel frequently with my infant daughter, son, and son’s friend in the back seat. There have been multiple other complaints about this which can be googled. Something needs to be done here."

Honda CR-V owner's manuals for 2017-2018 models are allegedly false because both manuals claim that “[a]ll five seating positions are equipped with lap/shoulder seat belts with emergency locking retractors.

In addition, the plaintiff claims the false advertising includes a brochure for the 2018 CR-V that claims the SUV is “[e]xcellence in every detail,” including “spacious seating for five.

Honda CR-V rear seat belts are designed in such a way the rear driver’s side seat belt and rear passenger’s side seat belt are retractable to the side of the vehicle nearest the passenger’s shoulder. However, the seat belt for the rear middle seat is a seat belt with a detachable anchor which retracts into the ceiling of the vehicle.

There is an “anchor buckle” to the middle passenger’s left where a small latch plate may be buckled. The passenger may then proceed to fasten the seat belt normally, inserting the large latch plate into the buckle to the passenger’s right.

But according to the CR-V lawsuit, the middle passenger’s anchor buckle is to the left of the rear driver’s side passenger’s buckle, making it impossible for the anchor buckle and rear driver’s side passenger’s buckle to be used at the same time without both of the seat belts overlapping or twisting.

"Accordingly, Defendant’s advertised statements that the CR-V has a seating capacity of five with 3-point seat belts at all seating positions are deceptive." - Plaintiff Schepler

The Honda CR-V seating capacity lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California - Bill Schepler, et al., v. American Honda Motor Company, Inc.

The plaintiff is represented by Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah, LLP, the Murphy Law Firm, and the Frasher Law Firm, P.C.

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