Seatbelts have become the most important features in a car as far as safety is concerned. But it so happens that most drivers and passengers ignore their importance, perhaps just because it’s a short trip, including other excuses. However, it is advisable that as long as you are in a moving vehicle, you always ensure that you’re buckled up. So, how did the seatbelts end up in our cars? Let’s kick start this conversation with a brief seatbelt history.
The first seatbelt was invented to keep gliding pilots in their seats in the late 1800s by a well-known engineer, George Cayley. It may have appeared to have been an unorthodox protective measure, but it soon caught up and later on, found its way on tourist vehicles. This was made possible by an American engineer, Edward J. Claghorn, who made the first patent seatbelt on New York taxis that were ferrying tourists. However, it was not until the 1930s when car manufacturers saw the importance of including seatbelts in all vehicles. Major racing motor vehicle companies were the first to appreciate this movement as it helped to ensure the safety of the racing drivers. The major seatbelt breakthrough came about in 1958 when Nils Bohlin, a Swedish engineer, made the first seatbelt known to this day for Volvo. Once the idea caught up, laws were enacted in most parts of the world to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers. Millions of lives have been saved ever since. But the big question here is, do seatbelt laws still exist?
Find out here:
The Importance of Wearing A Seatbelt
First and foremost, seatbelts help to save lives. This is perhaps the main reason you will come across many road signs reminding motorists to buckle up. For instance, if a passenger is sitting in a car traveling at 100km/h and comes into an impact on another car traveling at the same speed, they’d easily become projectiles (literally) if they were not wearing seatbelts. They would easily be ejected out of the car and most probably die on impact. Experts at Preszler Law of BC, (https://www.preszlerlawbc.com/blog/british-columbia-seatbelt-laws/), who specialize in car accident and personal injury cases, suggest that time and again, seatbelts have proven that they can help significantly reduce injuries and fatalities during car accidents. However, only a few people are putting them into good use. This may be the reason for strict seatbelt laws and regulations in many places around the globe.
It’s shocking to know that most passengers and drivers killed in car accidents were actually unrestrained according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Passengers not wearing seatbelts are 30 times more likely to be at risk of severe injuries or death, which may or may not include getting ejected out of the car during a crash. Thousands if not millions of lives can be saved if we all adhere to seatbelt laws.
Primary and Secondary Enforcement Of Seatbelt Laws
Seatbelt laws may be subject to both secondary and primary enforcement. In the U.S., primary law enforcement means that a police officer has the mandate to stop and issue a ticket to the driver if they are in violation of seatbelt laws. When it comes to secondary enforcement, it means that a police officer can only ticket a driver for a seatbelt violation if pulled over for other offenses such as speeding or running a stop sign.
Secondary enforcement has significantly limited traffic officers in such a way that they cannot enforce seatbelt laws as they would with primary enforcement. This means that there needs to be enhanced enforcement protocols and programs to better support the laid-down seatbelt laws. The only way this has been made possible is by publicity campaigns and non-governmental organizations.
It’s been found that if a person was involved in an accident and was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, they are bound to sustain far greater injuries than if they had been wearing one. Some states have gone further to protect motorists from having their charges reduced during lawsuits that may be due to the non-use of seatbelts. Insurance companies have also come out in enforcing strict regulations on motorists found not having seatbelts on during a car crash.
The Effectiveness of Seatbelt Laws
Since the rollout of seatbelt laws, car manufacturing companies have ensured that all cars have been fitted with seatbelts. In addition to this, thanks to technological advancements in the car manufacturing industry, seatbelts have become sophisticated in the past few decades. For instance, the modern seatbelt is fitted with crash tensioners, force limiters, and proper positioning, all with the aim of reducing injuries and fatalities.
Going back to our main topic of discussion, do seatbelt laws still exist? It’s a definite yes! Seatbelt laws have helped to increase the use of car safety belts. Publicized campaigns have been at the forefront in the articulation of seatbelt laws as well as creating awareness on the importance of wearing seat belts. So, the next time you are pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt, kindly thank the officer for reminding you.
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