A global recall of nearly 2.9 million Toyota SUVs was prompted by a Canadian investigation into a crash that killed two people when their seatbelts failed in a collision.

In documents posted last week, U.S. safety regulators say the recent recall was prompted by information from Canadian investigators about a collision in Eastern Canada in 2011 between a Toyota RAV4 and a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck. 

Front-seat passengers in both vehicles survived, but two rear-seat passengers in the RAV4 were killed.

That prompted Canada's auto safety regulator, Transport Canada, to do crash tests on the vehicles in question to try to see what could have happened.

Transport Canada posted video of their crash tests and how the belts failed

Transport Canada announced last week it had found that the rear seatbelts on affected models can come in contact with a metal frame during a crash, which can cause the strap to snap and leave passengers unrestrained.

Transport Canada took this information to U.S. safety regulators, who conducted their own tests and found similar results.

"This is more than just a case of Transport Canada finding a safety problem and doing a thorough investigation," Transport Minister Marc Garneau said.

"As a result of the department's investigation into this safety issue, lives will be saved in Canada and around the world."

The recall covers RAV4 SUVs from the 2005 through 2014 model years, the RAV4 electric vehicle from 2012 through 2014, sold in North America, and the Vanguard, sold in Japan from 2005-16, the Japanese automaker said.

Toyota dealerships can do a simple fix, adding plastic covers to the seatbelt's metal frame, at no cost to customers.


  • An earlier version of this story said the U.S. safety regulator documents were posted Thursday. The correct date is Feb. 19 and Transport Canada posted documents Feb. 18.
    Feb 25, 2016 5:34 PM ET
With files from The Associated Press