Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Do Vehicle Seat Belts Really Save Lives?
Survey by The National Highway Traffic And Safety Administration (NHTA) of America, Shows Seat Belts Save Lives.
In Malaysia, it is compulsory for drivers and front seat passengers to wear seat belts. Not doing so violates Section 119 (2) of the Road Transport Act 1978. It carries a RM100 fine.
It is amazing how a piece of cloth can save so many lives. In fact, in a research done, some 13,000 lives were reported to have been saved by this simple contraption – the seat belt.
Who is the inventor of the seat belt?
Drivers all around the world would surely wish to know. The inventor is none other than George Cayley.
In 1955, vehicle manufacturer Ford became one of the first to introduce seat belts in America. But like all good things, seat belts do occasionally contribute to serious injuries to passengers.
A few years ago, an incident happened along the Karak Highway tunnel near Genting Highland Resort. Speeding out from the famous tunnel, this couple friend of mine crashed into the cars in front of them.
The driver, who was wearing a seat belt then sustained a whiplash which broke his neck. His wife, who was not wearing a seat belt then, escaped miraculously with minor injuries only.
Motorists and drivers alike, may like to know, what does a seat belt actually do?
Therefore, permit me to explain to you what the function of the seat belt actually is. Maybe, after this explanation, hopefully you’ll better understand how important this item is in a vehicle.
A seat belt, sometimes known as “safety belt” is a safety harness which is designed to secure an occupant of a vehicle against harmful movement which might result when a collision or sudden stops occur.
Secondly, seat belts are intended to reduce injuries by stopping the wearer from hitting hard, interior elements of the vehicles or other passengers in the vehicle.
Hopefully, with the above explanation of the humble seat belt, you will have a better understanding of it.
How many types of seat belts are there?
I will only provide 2 examples that I know of. They are:
1) Lap seat belt which is normally secured across one’s lap.
2) The more well known version which is the standard type found in most cars – the 3 point seat belt.
It is immaterial which type of seat belts your vehicle possesses. The important factor is that you wear them while you’re driving.
Let me remind you once again that according to a survey done by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) in America, the seat belt is believed to reduce risks of deaths to front seat passengers and occupants by some 50%.
In Malaysia, seat belts are mandatory item in all cars except older vehicles which are produced prior to 1970 and beyond. Larger vehicles like trailer, buses and commercial vehicles obviously are exempted from its usage.
Pregnant ladies are also not expected to don the seat belt. It is said to cause much inconvenience to the wearer. As such, the authorities are said to be lenient towards them.
Just to show you how serious the Malaysian authorities view the importance of this contraption, a law has been passed rather recently in the Malaysian parliament, making it mandatory for rear seat passengers to wear seat belts.
This 3rd seat belts law will soon come into effect in March 2010.
Lest I forget, how does a seat belt actually function?
Taking the popular 3 point seat belt as an example, the locking mechanism inside the seat beat tightens when pulled out fast, but will however not deploy when pulled out slowly.
As in the case of Tiger Woods accidents, which happened not too long ago near his home in Florida, his SUV Cadillac seat belt failed to deploy as he was said to have been travelling very slowly then.
To end this short article on the importance of seat belt, we should in fact be extending our thanks to the inventor, George Cayley, who invented this small piece of cloth which has come to save millions of lives all across the world.
To Cayley, we should actually say, thank you very much!