NHTSA Promotes Seat Belt Safety

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August 21, 2020
Edward Smith

NHTSA Reminder: Always Buckle Up

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently featuring a front-page website promotion reminding the public of the importance of seat belt safety.

Seat Belt Safety Facts

Properly engaging your seat belt is the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself in the event of a crash.

  • Just over half of the male occupants of passenger vehicles that were killed in 2017 were not restrained.
  • Being properly buckled helps to keep you secure within your vehicle during an impact.
  • Nearly all cases of ejection from a vehicle result in fatal injuries.

Airbags Are Not Enough

Airbags work in conjunction with seatbelts, they do not replace the need for seat belts.  In fact, if your front airbag deploys and you are not wearing a seat belt, you could be thrown forward at the same time that the airbag rapidly opens, which could cause severe injuries or even death.  

Buckle up Safely – Guidelines

  • Lap and shoulder belts are designed to be secured across the rib cage and pelvis, internal structures that are better able to withstand impact forces than other parts of the body.
  • The shoulder belt should be located across the middle of the chest, not tight across the neck.
  • The lap belt should rest across the hips, not the upper abdominal area.
  • Under no circumstances should the shoulder belt be placed under an arm or behind the back.

Consider Seat Belt Fit When Buying a Car

When you are in the market for a new car, the fit of the seat belt is crucial, but often overlooked consideration.  Car dealers can help you get the best seat belt fit with belt adjusters.  Larger individuals may need to obtain belt extenders from the vehicle manufacturer.

Many older or classic vehicles are outfitted with only a lap belt.  It is possible that the manufacturer could retrofit the vehicle with lap/shoulder belts, which are much safer.

Seat Belt Use During Pregnancy

Pregnant women should absolutely continue to wear their seatbelt during pregnancy.  The shoulder belt, again, should never be placed behind the back or below an arm.  The shoulder harness should travel across the chest, between the breasts, without any slack.  Make sure the lap belt is securely positioned below the belly (never across), fitting snugly across the pelvic bones and hips.

Adjust the seat to a comfortable and upright position, keeping as much distance as safely possible between the steering wheel and your belly.  You should still be able to easily reach the floor pedals.

Though it may cross your mind that it might be a good idea to disable your airbag during pregnancy, doctors advise that pregnant women leave the airbags turned on.  Seat belts and airbags function together to offer the best protection for you and your unborn child during a crash.

Below is an effective video from NHTSA illustrating the importance of seat belt use.  Warning: the ad features a simulated vehicle ejection and may be disturbing to some.

Vacaville Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a personal injury lawyer in Vacaville, California. Automobile accidents injure Californians every day, even those who properly wear their seat belt.  After an injury-causing accident, people often need legal help in order to obtain the financial compensation to which they are entitled.  My law firm is available to offer free, friendly, and compassionate advice if you or a loved one sustained injuries at the hands of a negligent driver.  My office number is (707) 564-1900, or I can be reached from outside the Vacaville region at (800) 404-5400.

I have advocated on behalf of injured Northern Californians for nearly four decades.  Some of my case results are listed on my website on the settlements and verdicts page.

Many of my prior clients have kindly taken time out of their days to review our firm at the websites below:

Photo Attribution: https://pixabay.com/photos/seat-belt-seatbelt-vehicle-4227630/

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