A frightening experience for a Cranbrook, B.C. couple is highlighting the debate over whether sunroofs are safe and if enough is being done to prevent further incidents.
Lorilee Bell had just gotten out of the hospital and was travelling along Highway 3 between Fernie and Cranbrook in a 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport when the panoramic sunroof exploded.
“I was in the passenger seat and I had my seat rolled back. Thank god the shield was covered because my seat was rolled back. If it had been open, the sunroof would have shattered in my face.”
Bell said nothing hit the roof of the car prior to it shattering. “I’ve owned all kinds of vehicles with sunroofs and this has never happened, it wasn’t caused by a rock chip.”
Glass fragments didn’t hit Lorilee or the driver, but shards did end up in the back seat of the vehicle.
“Thank god our children were not in the backseat,” Bell said.
Their car is currently waiting to be assessed at the Hyundai dealership where they purchased the Santa Fe last year and hopes the repairs will be covered.
“I’m not putting out any money. That’s not acceptable. This is a safety issue,” she said.
There have been many other reports of exploding sunroofs in B.C. and throughout North America.
In January, several families told Global News of their own horrifying ordeals.
WATCH: More exploding sunroofs
Back in September, West Vancouver woman Hildegard Gehriger was driving her new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe, which is the same year and model as Hill’s vehicle, when her panoramic sunroof exploded.
Although glass shattered everywhere, no one was injured.
At the time, the Hyundai Corporation issued a statement to Global News, saying the sunroof of the Santa Fe is made of tempered glass and in an impact or fracture is designed to break into small granular pieces.
Hyundai said it planned a full investigation of the sunroof, but it is not known if any measures were taken. No recall has been issued since.
Bob Bernanek, president of Automotive Glass Consultants, said cost may be the reason there hasn’t been a recall.
“We’ve been hearing about an increase in sunroof breakage for about a year… but no one will admit there is a problem in the first place. I believe that’s because of the possible cost of a recall. If no one is injured, government agencies will not investigate.”
Hyundai did not respond to requests for comment Sunday.