According to recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the use of seat belts saves more drivers’ lives than any other method for preventing occupant injuries when motor vehicle accidents happen.
Last year alone, seat belts saved more than 20,000 lives and saved society approximately $50 billion in medical costs.
But the USDOT adds that many serious injuries, even deaths, occur each year because of a failure to use set belts and seat belt restraints properly, and/or because of defective seat belts, which are a more common problem than most drivers and passengers realize.
More than 75 percent of all drivers used seat belts consistently last year — an all-time high — in part because of the effectiveness of the “Click It or Ticket”-type enforcement campaigns paid for by the federal government and implemented at the local municipality level.
What is often overlooked, however, are the thousands of deaths each year that are caused by faulty seat belts.
The fact is some seat belts are safer than others, and poorly designed and manufactured seat belts may not properly restrain vehicle occupants in an accident. But despite what’s at stake when seat belts malfunction, manufactures are not willing to make information public, particularly about seat belt buckles that are more prone to fail during crashes. Without sufficient information, vehicle owners are unable to distinguish between safe and unsafe seat belts.