Seat belts are an integral portion of a car’s safety features. They were really the first standard safety feature of cars. Unfortunately, they are subject to problems and defects just like anything else. Common problems with seat belts often involve design flaws, like lap-only belts and window-shade designs.
Lap only seat belts are seat belts that only restrain the lower portion of an individual’s body. They fail to restrain the upper torso which can lead to fatal internal injuries, spinal damage, facial fractures, brain damage, and death. Auto manufacturers have known that a lap only belt is not enough since the late 1960s.
The National Transportation Safety Board has concluded that lap only belts induce injuries. These injuries range from minor to fatal in severity. In addition, the NTSB report concluded that the auto industry knew of the design defects of the lap only seat belts.
In response to the defective nature of lap-only belts, the auto industry started using lap and shoulder belts on front and rear seats. This, however, was not until the 1980s. Some cars still have lap-only seat belts. As a result of the late implementation of the lap and shoulder belt, there are many vehicles still on the road today that have lap-only belts installed in both the rear and center seats.
Excessive slack is a problem that can seriously injure or kill the occupant in a frontal collision. It can be caused by the movement of the occupants, slack from a device that induces slack for one’s comfort, and by plastic guides or loops.
Any appreciable slack is disastrous to the protective capacity of seat belt systems. Researchers have concluded that many people are needlessly killed or maimed as a direct result of slack in the seat belt. Any serious injury to a belted occupant may be the result of slack introduced into the seat belt system.
If you have been injured in a car accident and seat belts played a roll in your injury, contact the Stevens Point defective seat belt lawyers of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® at 1- 800-248-0171 to discuss your case and to determine your legal options.