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  • Writer's pictureLeitner Varughese Warywoda

What Makes Seatbelts So Safe?

In many car accidents, a seatbelt makes the difference between life and death. We have all heard stories of single-vehicle crashes where there were two people riding in the car; one person flew through the windshield and died, while the other remained buckled into the seat and only sustained minor injuries. Any seatbelt is better than no seatbelt, but like so much else in cars, seatbelts have gotten safer over the years. Today’s cars contain many advanced features to prevent collisions and to reduce the risk of serious injuries in the event of a crash, but even when your car’s airbags deploy and sensor-activated brakes engage in response to an obstacle, these features do a much better job of protecting you if you are also wearing a seatbelt.  

Under New York’s modified comparative negligence laws, insurance companies can reduce the amount of compensation they pay you for your accident-related injuries if you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident. For help negotiating an adequate insurance settlement after a car accident, even if you were not wearing a seatbelt, contact a New York car accident lawyer.

The Safety Features of Seatbelts

In the entire history of the automobile, no safety feature has decreased the traffic fatality rate more dramatically than the seatbelt. Even the simplest seatbelt design, the lap belt, is effective at preventing a vehicle occupant from being ejected from the vehicle. Over the decades, though, car manufacturers have implemented additional technological advancements to seat belts to make them even more effective at preventing injury in the event of a collision. 

Cars of the past few model years have seatbelts with a lap belt and shoulder strap in the front and rear seats, enough for five passengers in a four-door sedan to buckle up. Today’s seatbelts also have pre-tensioners and load limiters. Pretensioners cause the belt to tighten in the event of a sudden forward motion, and load limiters stop it from tightening too much. This way, it enables a soft impact between the inflated airbags and the passenger’s body.

Are Some Seats in the Car Safer Than Others?

Your location within the car also affects the risk of injury. In a frontal collision, the occupants of the front seat have a substantial risk of serious injury even at relatively low speeds, although your injuries will be less severe if you wear a seatbelt than if you do not. In a T-bone collision, the risk of injury is highest if you are seated on the side of the car that received the impact. The only seat in the car that is not vulnerable to a direct hit from any direction is the middle seat in the back.

Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda About Car Accident Cases

A car accident lawyer can help you if you suffered a serious injury as a result of a collision in which you were wearing a seatbelt. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC in Brooklyn, New York, or call (212)671-1110 to discuss your case.


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