Faulty Belts

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: The government is investigating complaints that seat belts in older versions of Chrysler's top-selling minivans are becoming unhooked from a floor anchor in the middle row of the vehicle. As many as 1.1 million minivans produced from 1991 to March 1993 may be involved. Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show the agency has received 171 complaints, all of which involve the belts for the right-side seat in the minivans' second row, according to the Associated Press. In one complaint, South Carolina resident Lynn Beaty hit the brakes on her 1992 Dodge Caravan to avoid hitting two deer, and the child seat holding her toddler flew forward, landing upside down with her daughter still in it. Identical parts were used in the 1991-93 Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan, Plymouth Voyager and Grand Voyager and Chrysler Town and Country minivans. This is the latest of several safety investigations for Chrysler's minivan. In 1995, after reports that 37 people had died from being thrown out the back when the lift-gate latches on their minivans opened, Chrysler offered to repair the latches on some 4 million minivans built from 1984 through 1995. The government is also investigating complaints that the seat belts for the bucket seats of 1991-93 Chrysler minivans came unlatched or could not be buckled at all.