A seat belt can mean the difference between life and death. This is true not only to people who buckle up, but to everyone else in the car. A loose passenger in a vehicle that abruptly stops could potentially collide into someone or something else. Seatbelts restrict motion in the event of an accident, protecting the body from ejection. Since their inception, safety restraining devices have made automobiles safer to drive.

The first modern three-point seat belt was created by a Swedish inventor in 1959. In 1965, the United States issued the first seat belt standard, because both car manufacturers and lawmakers saw a need for restraint systems in automobiles. Seat belts save approximately 9,500 lives per year. So why do some people refuse to wear seat belts?

The Excuses

“I can’t move with those belts on. They’re so uncomfortable!”
The fact is, newer seat belt design allows for total freedom of motion while driving. The latching device that secures the belt only goes into effect when the car jolts abruptly, as in an accident.

“It’s better to be thrown out of the car than be trapped in by a seat belt.”
People who are thrown form cars are 25 times more likely to be killed than if they had been held securely in their seats.

“I only drive around town; how can I get hurt going 25 miles per hour?”
The majority of all car accidents occur within 25 miles of home and 80 percent of all serious injuries and fatalities occur in cars going 40 miles per hour or slower.

“I’m a good driver. I’ve never had an accident.”
A person may be a good driver, but there are situations beyond a driver’s control, such as weather and road conditions (not to mention other drivers) that can affect safety.

Other facts to consider
A car traveling a mere 15 mph can stop within 0.10 second; an unbuckled person in the car however, will continue at the same speed until stopped by something else such as a steering wheel, dashboard or windshield. A crash at 30 mph (comparable to jumping from the third floor of a building), is four times more powerful than a crash at 15 mph.

Improper wear of a seat belt can also make it ineffective. Wearing only the shoulder strap can pitch the body forward from the hips, catching a person by the throat with the locking belt. Wearing only the lap belt provides the potential for facial injury caused by contact with the steering wheel.

Seat belts are too effective to ignore, take the time to buckle up; it’s the law, it’s your life.

Editor’s Note: Information in this article was extracted by the author from www.car-accidents.com, www.pp.okstate.edu, andwww.bragg.army.mil/PSBC-PM/SSS.htm