Seat Belt Defects

Seat belts have long been viewed as the most important invention for passenger safety in cars, trucks, and SUVs. When they work as they are supposed to, they can save lives and prevent injuries. Unfortunately, if they do not work as they are supposed to, serious injury or death is possible.

A typical car accident, without a seat belt, actually has two collisions. The first collision involves the car or vehicle hitting another object like a tree or another car. The second collision, which generally follows within milliseconds of the first, is when the occupant(s) of the vehicle hits something inside the car, such as the steering wheel or dashboard. Seat belts are in place to prevent the second collision from ever happening or to minimize the injury producing potential of the collision.

Seat belts prevent injuries by tying the occupant to their seat. This prevents them from moving around in the car during the accident. A snug-fitting lap and shoulder belt will allow the passenger to ride down the accident and, if all goes to plan, escape with minor injuries.

Unfortunately, seat belts do not always work as they should. They are subject to defects like any other item. A few common problems with seat belts are:

  • Inertial Unlatching. In this defect, a seatbelt becomes unlatched during the first collision which allows the belt to come free and the passenger to make contact with something on the inside of the car.
  • False Latching. The seat belt looks, feels, and sounds like it is thoroughly fastened but it really isn