There are advertisements plastered everywhere that "Safety Belts Save Lives." There can be no denying the statistics that prove this statement is indeed true. However, there is also evidence that indicates there are a significant number of injuries caused by seat belt use. Over half of people who die in car-related accidents did not have a seat belt on. Many of the problems associated with injuries from seat belts can be blamed on manufacturer defects.
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Seat Belt Syndrome
Seat belt syndrome is the name given to injuries sustained by people who do wear their seat belts. Injuries are most common in the intestines as a result of wearing a seat belt and being involved in an accident. The biggest problems occur when the force of impact causes the belt to press too hard against the passenger.
Dislocations and fractures
Dislocations and fractures are common injuries associated with wearing a seat belt. These are seen more in children than in adults, but they can happen to anyone. These fractures and dislocations are usually also accompanied by scrapes and bruises.
Lap-Only Seat Belts
Some people opt to only wear the seat belt that connects across the lap and not use the shoulder belt. These seat belts can often be dangerous and result in numerous injuries. In the event of a rear end collision a passenger is often ejected from the vehicle. The passenger could also plunge forward, striking the windshield, even in a front end impact. Lap belts alone are ineffective in preventing a passenger from being ejected from a vehicle because they do not offer enough secure support.
Many times there are injuries from defective seat belts. Many people die from seat belts that release upon impact. The result is that passengers are often ejected from the vehicle. There is also a seat belt anchor that is part of the seat belt's design. This protects the passenger in the event of a rollover accident. Sometimes the anchor is not installed properly and does not function during a rollover, which can be dangerous or even life threatening. When the anchor fails and the passenger cannot rely on the seat belt for protection when the vehicle rolls the passenger is thrown about the vehicle.
Some vehicles are outfitted with a shoulder strap that mechanically moves into position when you enter the car and shut the door. The plan is to make certain you are wearing your seat belt. The trouble with this is that wearing only the shoulder strap without the lap belt is more unsafe than not wearing a complete seat belt. Upon impact there is a much greater risk of head, neck or spinal cord injury. People who wear the shoulder strap belt only can slide out from under the belt which can cause serious injury, strangulation or even decapitation.
There is a locking mechanism built into the seat belt design that automatically locks upon impact and often these lock too tightly, which can rupture some internal organs.
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