Seat belts have been proven to reduce the amount of injuries a person may experience in a road crash, as most injuries to drivers and passengers are caused by contact with the steering wheel, dashboard, windscreen or the sides and roof of a vehicle.
Advanced seat belt features:
- Seatbelts have been a mandatory in cars sold in Victorian since the 1st of January 1969 and have reduced the risk of serious or fatal injury by 50%. Over the years, technology has advanced to ensure seatbelts operate more effectively. Audible seat belt reminders are valuable devices that encourage all occupants to wear their seatbelts. In recent years nearly 20% of all fatalities on Australian roads involved a driver or occupant not wearing a seat belt.
- The more recent intelligent seat belt locks prevent a car being started if the driver, or a passenger, is not belted up.
Seat belt safety tips – when buying a new vehicle, look for:
- Pre-tensioners – these reduce slack in the seat belt upon impact and protect occupants from being propelled forward.
- Webbing clamps – these stop the belt reeling out further in a crash, keeping the occupant firmly in their seat.
- Load limiters – this feature is only available in cars with airbags and allows the belt to unreel so that pressure on the person’s chest area is reduced.
- Adjustable upper anchorage points – enables the belt to be placed comfortably across the shoulder rather than against the neck.
Seatbelts and airbags:
- While seat belts provide excellent protection, they cannot always stop people hitting the steering wheel and dashboard. In these situations, airbags can provide added protection from injury.
- Children from birth through to 16 years must be fitted with properly adjusted and fitted child restraints. There are legal requirements for the restraint being the right size for the child, properly adjusted and fastened, as well as correctly fitted to the vehicle.
- By law, the driver must ensure passengers under 16 years are in the necessary seatbelts or restraints – children up to 7 years must be seated in approved child restraints. When fitting a baby or child restraint follow the manufacturer’s instructions.