3 Protective Effect of Seat Belts

  As reported above, Micro Data indicates that chest injuries to older drivers are caused not only by the steering wheel but also by the seat belt. Serious injuries can occur in the body areas along the seat belt webbing. A conceivable cause of these injuries is the decline of chest injury tolerance with age.

  For greater safety and protection, new types of seat belts equipped with a seat belt pretensioner*6 or a load limiter*7 are being introduced. By applying Micro Data to evaluate the protective effects of these as well as conventional seat belts, it will become possible to develop even better seat belts and other occupant restraint systems.

  Currently the seat belt is considered to be the most effective safety device in vehicle collisions, as the seat belt not only moderates the impact on the occupant but also restrains the occupant from being ejected out of the seat and out of the compartment. Past accident data clearly indicate that more serious injuries will result if the use of seat belts is to be suspended. And of course, even greater protection can be provided if vehicle users adhere to safe driving.

  Note 6: A "seat belt pretensioner" winds the belt slack caused by clothes, etc. and thereby quickens the occupant restraining action of the seat belt to minimize the occupant's forward displacement and prevent the driver from hitting the steering wheel in the head or face.

  Note 7: A "load limiter", in response to a load on the seat belt, gradually unwinds the belt so as to moderate the impact of the belt webbing on the occupant's chest and neck.

  Reference: For more information about the relationship between older drivers and accidents, please refer to ITARDA Information No.6 and No.24.


Institute for Traffic Accident Research and Data Analysis (ITARDA)