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How Much Safety Do Seatbelts Actually Offer During an Accident?

Motor vehicle accidents are the top cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 54. Scientific research has found that wearing a seat belt reduces a person's risk of death in an auto accident by more than 50 percent. Although urban legends and rare stories exist of people getting tangled in a seat belt in the aftermath of an auto accident, wearing one is your best defense against injury or death from a car crash.

How Seat Belts Work

The seat belt reduces injuries and deaths from auto accidents because they restrain the body against the impact. By slowing the body's movement and keeping the body within a fixed position, there is less of a chance that a person will hit their head on the dashboard or side windows. Seat belts also greatly reduce the risk of a vehicle occupant getting ejected during an accident.

Reducing Injuries and Deaths in Auto Accidents

More than 50 percent of the people killed in auto accidents in 2012 were not wearing their seat belts. Considering that more than 90 percent of Americans do buckle up, this means that the people not using their seat belts incur a greater risk of death.

Using Child Safety Restraints

Vehicles come with seat belts that are sized to fit adults. This sizing does not adequately protect a young child, which is why child safety seats and restraints have been devised. A booster seat lifts a child up so that the adult-sized seat belt is placed properly across the child's body. Other types of seating, like that available from Just Upholstery, helps keep adults safe too. This is important to consider, so that adults can properly take care of their children. For infants and toddlers, the adult belt is used through an infant seat or the LATCH system in newer vehicles.

Combining the Safety of Seat Belts and Air Bags

Air bags are designed to further reduce the risk of injury and death. They are made to be used along with seat belts. In a crash, a person's head can still move forward upon impact, despite being restrained by a seat belt. The inflation of the air bag prevents direct contact of the person's head with the hard materials of the dashboard and windshield.

In 49 states, wearing a seat belt is required by law for adults and children. Only New Hampshire does not have a law on seat belt use. Countless studies have found a significant reduction of injury and death in people of all ages when a seat belt is used. The simple act of buckling up could prevent serious injuries, permanent disability or deaths.

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Tags: accident, auto, belt, seat

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