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The Detroit Free Press has reported that Ford Motor Company will recall 33,000 midsize vehicles and SUVs because of serious safety defect involving front seat recliner mechanisms. The seat recliner’s gears could allow the seat back and head restraint to fall backwards in a collision. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") has said the recalled Ford vehicles fail to comply with minimum safety standards.

Recalled vehicles include the 2010 Ford Fusion, Explorer, Explorer Sport Trac and Mercury Milan and Mountaineer.

Dealers will replace the manual seat recliners free of charge. Owners with questions about the recall can contact Ford at (866) 436-7332.

InjuryBoard member, Bob Langdon, discussed the dangers of seat back failures a few years ago with an ABC News affiliate:

Seat back failures pose at least two very serious risks for occupants.

(1) Unless the front seat is equipped with an all belts to seat restraint system in which the seat belt is anchored to the seat at both the lap belt and should belt portions, a failing seat back will leave the occupant with very little or no seat belt protection.

(2) As the seat fails backwards, the occupant’s body drops away from the shoulder belt and the occupant is left virtually unrestrained. For rear seat occupants, the failing seat back intrudes into their space and can result in serious injury or death as the rear seat occupant slams into either the seat back or head rest, or even into the front seat occupant.

You can learn more about safety-related issues at our safety blog and become a fan of Langdon & Emison on Facebook.

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