A seatbelt or safety belt is a designed safety harness purposely to secure person who occupies a motor vehicle against results of harmful movements of the vehicle which may sometimes result to due to a collision or an emergency stop. As part of a safety system in automobile they intended to reduce both deaths and injuries by protecting the user from hitting or knocking hard the interior parts of the vehicle or by avoiding the second impact which occurs between the passengers. Seatbelts are well designed to stretch or stop stretching whenever there is any sudden deceleration since they create a less differential in terms of speed between the user’s body and the interior of the vehicle and it also spreads the weight impact on the user’s body. The force of the third or final impact is when the passenger’s body hits the interior of an automobile in cases where the automobile crashes and therefore causing life threatening or disabling injuries. The sequence which energy dissipates and the technology of speed reducing, the “crumple zone” air bags, padded interior and seatbelts are specifically designed to work all together as a system so as to minimize the forces of the final impact.
There are different types Seatbelts. A lap is an example of a seatbelt which is an adjustable strap that is tied in one’s waist. A lap is mostly available in old automobiles and up to date; it is still in use especially in new vehicles with middle in rear seats but it is gradually disappearing from the market. Lap seat belts are also found in aircraft’s passenger seats and also in coaches. Lap seat belts are useful since they prevent injuries and at the same time they allow passengers to adopt bracing positions. Another good example of a seatbelt is known as Sash, it is also an adjustable strap which goes over the passenger’s shoulder. It was used primarily during the 1960s in vehicles; however it has lots of benefits because a passenger could easily slip it out during a collision. Another type is a three point seat belt which is almost similar to sash and lap belts but only that it has a continuous belt length. Both sash and lap belts have a thing in common since they spread the energy out of moving bodies in a collision which is aiming over the pelvis, chest and also shoulders. Other types of safety belts include Belt-in-Seat or (BIS),
mto.gov, suggests that each passenger travelling in an automobile must wear a seatbelt or incase it is a child; a child safety seat must be used. In Ontario for instance, a fine for seatbelt range between sixty and five hundred dollars. In addition, incarcerated offenders receive demerit points. Child car seat proper and seatbelt for passengers under the age of sixteen must be used with confirmation from the driver since he is in charge. If caught not wearing seatbelts, the police officer can request passengers who seem to be below sixteen years to give their names, date of birth and address. Those passengers may face fines for not wearing or not using safety belts properly. Proper use of seatbelts dramatically increases chances of survival in a motor vehicle collision. However, there are various seat belt exemptions which should be taken into accounts and they include: Driving the motor vehicle in reverse, the police officers or peace officers while they are transporting a person who is in custody, people who are having the medical certificates claiming that they are not able to wear a seat belt, a person who is police custody while he/she is being transported, taxi cab drivers are exempted when transporting a passenger only for hire, ambulance attendants and lastly, firefighters in a firefighter vehicle while engaging in the work that may make it impractical when wearing a seat belt. The following exemptions may also be applied to those vehicles that were not made with seatbelts. They include; buses like school buses, historic vehicles and large commercial vehicles at the time of manufacturing which do not need seatbelts to be placed in rear positions. In many cases children do know when and how to wear seatbelts. Therefore, motor vehicle drivers should be responsible in ensuring that children’s under the age of 16 years are secured properly in a vehicle. They should also ensure that children who are under the age of 13 years of age are placed in back seats away from potential point of impact (mto.gov, 2010)
Failure to wear seat belts contributes to increase in accidents where it is estimated that 63% of people are killed because of not wearing them. The data also suggests that the education alone does not give jobs to young people between the ages of 16 to 25 years. They do not simply believe that they will be killed or injured yet they are the highest-risk nation’s drivers with drinking more while driving, more speeding and crashes. In vehicles today seat belts are mostly effective because they save more than 9,500 lives every year. Yet only65% occupants of the motor vehicle are buckled. In 1996, 60% or more occupants killed in deadly crashes were unrestrained. The unbuckled drivers and passengers cost is more than those killed and loss to their families. Averagely, care cost of impatient hospital for unbelted victims are 50% higher than for a belted crash victims. The society bears 85% of those costs and not the individual involved. If everybody buckle up then we will be sure that the figure will drop significantly. Failure of not wearing safety belts affects everybody through higher medical bills, higher taxes and higher insurance premiums (Kenny, B. 1998)
Few people wear seat belts; some find them important while others just hate wearing them because of being required by law. We should know that seat belts are important in our lives. The main advantage is that they save lives during collisions or other kinds of accidents. It is estimated that more than fifteen thousand lives were saved as a result of people wearing seat belts in 2006 in Ontario. Wearing the seat belt minimizes the contact of the body with interior parts of the car and that leads minor injuries. According to a report conducted by NHTSA, 50% of injuries are reduced by using seat belts. The other advantage of seat belts is that they lower medical costs. People who wear seat belts during collisions pay 60% less medical bills than those who did not wear them. Lastly, most drivers wear seat belts to prevent them from getting tickets. Tickets can range from ten dollars to two fifty dollars for an offense of not wearing seat belts (Hagy, G.1999)
Hagy, G. (1999): Advantages of Using a Seat Belt. Retrieved on 18th February, 2011 from
Kenny, B. (1998): The Benefits of Buckling Up: Seat Belts Save Lives .Retrieved from
mto.gov, (2010): Seat Belts: Stay safe and secure. Retrieved on 18th February, 2010 from