Tips&TricksUnderstanding the importance of seat belts: An overlooked safety feature that saves lives

Understanding the importance of seat belts: An overlooked safety feature that saves lives

Seat belts have this feature not by accident.
Seat belts have this feature not by accident.
Images source: © Canva, Getty Images | Daniil Dubov
6:14 PM EST, February 7, 2024

Several drivers and passengers often neglect fastening their seat belts, putting their health and even lives at peril. A common trick to avoid the irritating beep of the car's system is to fasten the belt behind one's back. Not buckling up properly can fetch you a penalty, but there are much graver consequences to consider. Most of us, at some point, have wondered about the layout of a seat belt. Ever thought about why manufacturers incorporate plastic buttons on the belts?

Buttoned seat belts, what are they about?

The breakthrough of seat belts was made in 1958, introduced to the automobile market by Volvo. Mercedes perfected their functionality only in the 1980s, catalyzing other companies to evolve the best and safest seat belt technology in the years following. Around that time in our country, only the driver and the front passenger were required to buckle up outside urban areas. The mandates were revised in 1991, and remain the same till today, making them indispensable to comply with.

You must have noticed the distinctive button on the seat belt while fastening it. It's not meant for more safety, but for plain convenience. We've all had clumsy attempts to grab the end of the seat belt before a journey, causing frustration at times. This minor addition significantly facilitates the fastening of seat belts, as the buckle always stays at the same height, keeping it within reach. If this button were to vanish, the use of seat belts would become inconvenient and annoying.

What dangers lurk in not wearing seat belts?

Many drivers disregard the traffic regulations concerning seat belt usage owing to the relatively low penalty of $25). This does not trivialize the offence, as accumulating penalty points can quickly revoke your driver's license. Consider the alarming statistics if this isn't convincing enough to buckle up. Using seat belts can curtail the risk of fatality during an accident by 45 percent! Disturbingly, 12 out of every 100 accidents attributable to unfastened seat belts result in fatalities, a rate four times greater than in other European countries.

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