Seat Belt Effectiveness
In the event of a car accident, vehicle occupants who are wearing their seatbelts are much more likely to avoid injuries and fatalities than are those who are not. However, it is important to remember that both the type of seatbelt and the manner of wearing the seatbelt have a great bearing on its overall effectiveness in preventing serious injury.
Types of Seatbelts
There are two main types of seatbelts:
Lap belt: A lap belt sits across the upper thighs and hips of the wearer. It is anchored at two points and helps keep the passenger restrained within the vehicle during a crash, rather than being thrown from the vehicle. Unfortunately, lap belts do not provide protection for the upper body.
Lap/Shoulder combination belt. This belt is anchored at three points, sitting across the lap of the occupant as well as crossing the torso. The shoulder belt restrains the upper chest and shoulders, and can also reduce the risk of brain and spinal cord injury. The added protection of this type of belt over the lap belt alone makes it a safer choice and as a result, the lap/shoulder combination belt is required in newer vehicles.
Wearing a Seatbelt Correctly
A seatbelt can only provide protection if it is worn correctly.
- A lap belt should fit snugly and touch the upper thighs. If the belt sits on the abdomen, a victim can face organ damage as well as lower spine injuries. If the belt is too loose, the occupant may slide underneath the belt during a crash.
- A lap/shoulder combination belt should never be worn with the shoulder strap underneath the arm or behind the back. This can cause internal injuries and also eliminates the benefits provided by a shoulder strap over a lap belt alone.
- All children should be properly restrained in car seats and booster seats until they reach a size and weight for which the seatbelt fits comfortably and properly.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact the Stevens Point car accident attorneys of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® at 800-242-2874.