Top tether

The New Car Assessment Program for Southeast Asian Countries (ASEAN NCAP) has announced that it has received complaints from consumers over a removal of a safety specification in a previously tested vehicle. It has been reported to the agency that the top tether fitment, vital in improving the level of child protection inside the vehicle, has been removed from the vehicle, which is a Malaysian-made model.

In a press statement, ASEAN NCAP Secretary-General Khairil Anwar Abu Kassim stated that the action of removing the particular fitment will undoubtedly have a severe impact on the result of the Child Occupant Protection (COP) rating in the car’s ASEAN NCAP test. He added that the variation or exclusion of such a specification is not allowed.

The agency did not reveal the automaker or the model, but said that the removal of the fitment is an irresponsible act by the manufacturer. Khairil said the fact needs to be made public in order to demonstrate that any compromise to safety is not tolerable.

He added that the results from an ASEAN NCAP rating is a “promise” between manufacturers and NCAP, especially on the safety fitment installed inside their respective vehicles, and thus the manufacturer had broken its promise.

top tether attachment

The agency will be sending a show cause letter to the said manufacturer with demands on a plan to recover the situation. The result from the discussion will be that either the car will need to be retested as a lower specification variant or have its total rating suspended.

The overall finding will be made public, Khairil said. He added that due to this complaint, ASEAN NCAP is also investigating another model from the brand that has been assessed by the agency.

A top tether is an additional attachment strap for child car seats – attached by the upper part to a vehicle-specific anchor, it is meant to reduce forward movement for extra safety in the event of an accident. The attachment points are usually placed in specific locations, either on the vehicle roof in the rear, behind the rear seat backs, under the rear seats or in the trunk.

As part of an Isofix system, the use of a top tether defines a car’s attachment system as being universal in relation to the use of child car seats. Removing or omitting the top tether in a vehicle would then change the attachment type ability to being vehicle-specific – with usage of the Isofix anchorage without the top tether – or semi-universal, where a car seat uses a support leg instead of the top tether.