person buckling up seatbelt

Seat Belts—Why They are Necessary

The development of the modern seat belt, complete with lap and chest restraint, has been one of the biggest safety developments of modern times. Buckling up when you get in a vehicle is one of the best things you can do to keep yourself safe. Did you know that, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts saved approximately 14,955 lives in 2017 alone? So, take the time to buckle up if you are a driver or passenger in a vehicle. It just might end up saving your life. 

Seat Belts—Why They are Necessary

Most Americans have been trained in practicing the good habit of seat belt use. In fact, the NHTSA reports that, in 2020, the national seat belt use rate sat at 90.3%. We are seeing more and more how critical seat belt use is to remain safe in a vehicle. Without seat belt use, vehicle drivers and passengers put themselves at needless risk of awful consequences such as being ejected from a vehicle upon impact with another car or object, a more likely than a non-fatal event. Wearing your seat belt can help keep you safe and secure inside a vehicle in the event of a crash.

In order to help ensure you are maximizing the effectiveness of a seat belt as a safety feature, proper fit and placement of a seat belt is key. The lap belt portion should be secured across the pelvis, running along your hips as opposed to your stomach. The shoulder belt portion should run across your rib cage, across the middle of your chest, away from your neck. Do not loop your arm through so that the shoulder belt portion of your seat belt rests behind your back or under your arm. This not only makes the seatbelt ineffective, but can pose its own unique dangers as well.

The fit of your seat belt also matters and, considering how important of a safety feature a properly fitting seat belt is, you should be sure to investigate seat belt fit whenever looking to buy a new vehicle. Talk to the auto dealer about seat belt fit and the options for seat belt adjustment. Should you need a roomier belt, ask if seat belt extenders are available from the manufacturer. Should you be in the market for an older or classic car model, you may find it only comes with a lap belt. Look into the option of having the vehicle retrofitted with the much safer seat belts that feature both a lap and shoulder restraint.

It really is amazing what safety features vehicles are equipped with these days. The airbag, for instance, has developed over time to be a great line of defense in the event of an auto collision. It is still important, however, to use your seat belt. In fact, did you know that airbags are specifically designed to work in tandem with seat belts? Airbags without seat belt use can not only be ineffective as a safety feature, but can also prove to be dangerous. The force of impact of an airbag can cause serious, and even fatal, injury to someone who is not using their seat belt.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

Philadelphia, buckle up. The team of personal injury attorneys at Cooper, Schall & Levy want you to be safe at there. We have seen far too many tragic consequences for those who have been involved in auto accidents. Contact us today.