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The importance of the Seat Belts

The importance of the Seat Belts

The wearing of seat belts has made a significant contribution to the reduction of road casualties, and the risk inherent in not wearing a seat belt in the front of a vehicle is now widely understood. There are many myths that are still circulating concerning seat belt wearing: if I wear my seat belt I will get trapped in the car in an accident; it would be better to be thrown from the car; I can hold on firmly to the steering wheel.

Injury statistics have shown conclusively that the seat belt is the most important piece of life saving equipment available within a car. Although the vast majority of drivers in Europe are smart enough to rely on their seat belts, still if everybody used their seat belt on every journey, it is estimated that 7,500 lives could be saved throughout the European Union, annually. Further, the number of serious injuries would also be dramatically reduced, as would medical costs.

The risk to back seat passengers in cars is perhaps less well understood, but the fact remains that seat belts are equally effective in the back as in the front seat of a car. In a crash at 30 mph, an adult back seat passenger is thrown forward with a force of three and half tones, equal to the weight of an elephant. Without a seat belt, this could result in death or serious injury not only to the passenger, but also to others traveling in the front and back of the vehicle. If there are not enough seat belts for the number of passengers traveling in the car, it is worth noting that the heaviest passengers will cause greater injury to others. For pregnant women, wearing a seat belt may prove uncomfortable, but it is important for the safety of the mother and her baby. The lap should go across the hips, fitting comfortably under the bump, while the diagonal strap should be placed between the breasts and around the bump.

Part-time users are often people who believe that seat belts reduce the severity of injury in motor vehicle crashes, but who believe that they are not at risk when driving on short, familiar, low speed trips. According to YASA, they consist now the majority of people, worldwide. Many part-time users think of themselves as full-time users because they wear their belts when they believe they are at risk of crash involvement. The greatest gains in seat belts use have been achieved by increasing the number of situations in which part-time users wear their seat belts. Since members of this group already believe that seat belts are beneficial, they may be converted to full-time users through education, but messages must be presented in new ways so part-time users will pay more attention to the importance of using seat belts.

Non-users represent the minority of the population in most developed countries, but are the most difficult to convert to seat belt use. High-risk drivers are most typically non-users of seat belts. They are more likely than others to drive after drinking, to be involved in a serious crash, and are also the least likely to be responsible for the social and economic consequences of their behavior. These are the drivers who would benefit most from using their seat belts. They often appear to believe that seat belts can cause more harm than good or that government should not mandate behaviors that affect only them. Non-users come from all segments of the societies but are frequently male, less than 30 years of age, unmarried, and have little or no post-secondary education.
The Way Safety Belts work
When people ride in or on anything, they go as fast it is going. To study that, let’s take the simplest vehicle. Suppose it is just a seat on wheels, put someone on it and get it up to speed, then stop the vehicle. The rider does not stop, but keeps going until stopped by something.

With safety belts, people slow down as the vehicle does; therefore, they get more time to stop. When safety belts are worn properly, the body’s strongest bones can better withstand the forces during a crash, while the vehicle’s structure crushes and helps to protect by absorbing the energy of the crash.

In many crashes, people who use the safety belts can survive and sometimes walk away. Without belts, they could have been badly hurt or killed. After more than 30 years of safety belts in vehicles, the facts are clear. In most crashes, fastening up your belt does matter a lot.

The Way to Wear Safety Belts

Lap-only belts should be worn low and snug on the hips, just touching the thighs. In a crash, this applies force to the strong pelvic bones, and makes it less likely that a person would slide under the lap belt. Sliding under the belt would apply force at the abdomen. This could cause serious or even fatal injuries.

Lap-shoulder belts go over the lap and across the chest and shoulder. The lap part of the belt should be worn in the same manner as a lap-only belt. The shoulder belt should go over the shoulder and across the chest. These parts of the body are best able to take belt-restraining forces. The shoulder belt should never be worn behind the back or under the arm. If the belt is worn this way, it could cause serious injury.

Only one person must use a safety belt at a time. In a crash, the belt cannot spread the impact forces properly for more than one person. Two people wearing the same belt could be crushed together and injured seriously.
 
Seat Belt Key Tips :

  •  Always wear a seat belt - wherever and whenever you travel.
  •  Make sure that every occupant of your car, whether in the front or back of the car, uses their seat belt.
  •  Lap-and-diagonal seat belts are preferable to lap-only belts.
  •  The belt should always be adjusted properly, with the lap part as low as possible over the hips - not over the abdomen. Always ensure that the shoulder belt lies on the chest and over the shoulder: there should not be any slack in the belt at all.
  •  Avoid wearing any thick clothing under the seat belt as this could interfere with the effectiveness of the seat belt action.
  •  Do not attempt to improve seat belt comfort with padding or cushions.

In his weekly radio address to the nation on December 28, 1996, President Clinton asked all Americans to always wear seat belts as a first line of defense against traffic injuries and fatalities and to always keep children, ages 12 and under, buckled in the back seat where they are safest. On January 23, 1997, the President directed the Secretary of Transportation to prepare a plan to increase the use of seat belts nationwide. The President directed the Secretary to work with Congress, the states, and other concerned groups, including the automobile and insurance industries and safety and consumer groups, to develop the plan. He further directed that the plan address:

  •  State laws that require the use of seat belts;
  •  Assistance from the Department of Transportation to improve these state laws; and
  •  A comprehensive education campaign by the public and private sectors to help the public understand the need to wear seat belts.

In the Unites States, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), as the lead agency in developing the plan, met with and solicited input from Members of Congress, other Federal agencies, the states, the private sector, including automobile manufacturers and insurers, and many other groups and organizations. The plan presented here is based on their advice and on a solid foundation of research and practical experience with strategies to increase seat belt use.

Lebanon , Traffic Safety

Date: 4/16/2010 1:03:19 PM

By: YASA WEB , YASA
 
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Traffic Safety