Automobile, Safety and Weather
Interesting Facts about Seat Belts
It’s hard to imagine a world when seat belts were not the norm, but it hasn’t been that long since these life-saving devices were widely used. The single most effective thing at preventing death and injury in a car accident is the simple act of wearing a seat belt.
When you’re in a moving vehicle, do you always wear a seat belt? If not, buckle up and read the interesting facts below. You may decide to change your mind.
A brief history about seat belts
In 1968, it became mandatory in the U.S. for new cars to be manufactured with seat belts, though few passengers actually wore them. In 1984, New York was the first state to pass a law requiring seat belts be worn. By 1996, all states except New Hampshire had a mandatory seat belt usage law for drivers and front-seat passengers.
Do seat belts really save lives?
According to CDC.gov, seat belts have saved an estimated 255,000 lives since 1975. It’s said they save around 35 people every day. Most deaths from car accidents involve drivers and passengers who were not wearing a seat belt. In 2009, 53% of drivers and passengers killed in car crashes were unrestrained.
If you’re not wearing a seat belt, you are 30 times more likely to be thrown from a vehicle during a collision. Seat belts reduce the risk of death by 45% and risk of serious injury by 50%. The numbers don’t lie, seat belts save lives.
"The numbers don't lie, seat belts save lives.
Can seatbelts injure or kill you?
While the data shows they do dramatically increase your safety, there are still some people who think seat belts can harm you. There is a fear that a seatbelt would keep you trapped in a car when you don’t want to be – like if your car is on fire or submerged in water. Luckily, car accidents involving these circumstances account for less than 1% of all U.S. car accidents.
Also, if you’re not wearing a seatbelt, it’s likely you’ll suffer a head injury at impact that will incapacitate you from exiting the vehicle anyway. A seat belt’s job is to keep your body in place, so the force of a crash could cause the seat belt to bruise you. But the injuries you may get from a seat belt far belittle the injuries you may suffer without wearing a seat belt.
Will a seat belt ticket affect insurance?
A seat belt ticket is considered a minor infraction, but you still may be wondering if a seat belt violation will cause insurance premium to go up. For most insurance companies, that answer is no, a seat belt citation will not affect your premium. Check with your agent to understand your company’s policy, but even if your insurance company does factor minor infractions into their rates, it is likely not going to affect it by much.
How to wear a seat belt while pregnant
Many pregnant women are on high alert for their unborn baby’s safety and may be wondering how to properly wear a seat belt with their growing belly. Some may even ask if seat belts can cause a miscarriage? While car accidents can seriously affect a pregnancy, wearing your seat belt correctly while pregnant can help protect you and your baby.
When pregnant, it’s recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to wear a seat belt correctly with the lap portion placed under the abdomen and across the upper thighs and hip bones. Never place a seat belt above or over the belly. Keep the shoulder strap running diagonally across your chest, and do not place it behind your back or under your arm.
Thankfully, most Americans are wearing a seat belt. In 2019, nhtsa.gov reported the national use at 90.7%. Understanding the importance of wearing a seat belt makes this simple act seem like a no brainer.