Gm recalls all '97 blazer, jimmy, and bravada SUV's to replace seatbelt buckle assembly.

General Motors Says it is recalling about 341,000 '97 Chevrolet, GMC, and Oldsmobile Bravada midsize SUV's in order to replace a driver seatbelt buckle assembly with a new buckle assembly. GM will notify owners of the affected vehicles beginning in July. Owners will be instructed to bring their vehicles to their Chevrolet, GMC, and Oldsmobile dealers to retrofit a new seatbelt buckle assembly that does not contain an energy-absorbing loop. GM says the repairs will be made at no cost to the owner.

The driver-side seatbelt design used in the '97 midsize SUV's used an energy-absorbing system that reliedon stitching and belt webbing that extends in response to a frontal impact. This energy-absorbing feature enabled the occupant restraint system for the driver to meet or exceed GM and federal head injury criteria(HIC) values measured in lab testing.

GM is recalling these vehicles because there may be reduced driver restraint if the energy-absorbing loop full deploys during severe rollover conditions. Rollovers comprise a small percentage of the total crash events that occur in the field; however, GM says it is taking this action in the interest of safety of their customers. Overall the drivers seatbelt is a safe seatbelt is a sae belt and helps provide protection in many types of crash events. Additionally, says the statement from gm, "energy absorbing loops are widely used in the industry and help provide effective restraint."

GM claims the Blazer, Jimmy and Bravada models can meet GM and federal goverenment standards with new seatbelt buckle assembly that doesn not contrain an energy-absorbing loop.

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This article was found in the September 2003 Sport truck.