It’s Your Life, and It’s the Law
When seat belts were first introduced in the 1950s they were not a popular feature among drivers, yet they became mandatory motor vehicle equipment in 1967. Three years later, seat belt use was estimated to be only 20 percent. Recently, seat belt use has risen to well over 70 percent thanks to legislation and public awareness campaigns. Drivers in Hatboro, PA (around the CollisionMax of Warminster auto body shop) have experienced an increased awareness of seat belt laws as police crack down on their enforcement.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Airbag Testing Technology, Inc., seat belts are the most important safety feature in any car and they DO save lives. They rate seat belt effectiveness as follows:
•Preventing deaths in cars: 45 percent effective
•Preventing serious injury in cars: 50 percent effective
•Preventing deaths in light trucks, vans and SUVs: 60 percent effective
•Preventing serious injury in light trucks, vans and SUVs: 65 percent effective
•Annual lives saved: 11,000
Seat belts are designed to keep you in place and inside the vehicle during a crash. They also prevent occupants from hitting their head on the steering wheel, windshield and dashboard.
Seat belt technology has come a long way since the 1950s, incorporating advanced safety and comfort features. For example, integrated seat belt systems are attached to seat rather than the floor of the vehicle. This allows the seat belt to move with you when you adjust the seat, and hold you better in place during a collision. Seat belt pretensioners retract instantly in a crash and pick up excess slack, preventing your body from violently jerking.
In conjunction with pretensioners, energy management features in shoulder harnesses allow the harness to extend during the final milliseconds of a crash, preventing the belt from exerting extreme force on your shoulder and chest, and reducing seat belt-related injury.
But remember, seat belts only work if you buckle up before you drive.