Posted On: September 18, 2009 by Steven J. Malman

Preventing Chicago Car Accidents: With Seat Belt Use in 2009 at 84%, Safety Restraint Systems Cannot Afford to Have Defects

According to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey, seat belt use this year is at 84%. This is a 1% increase from 2007's seat belt use. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis conducted NOPUS.

Per the survey:
• US states where vehicle occupants are more likely to get pulled over for not wearing seat belts had a higher seat belt use rate than states with less strict seat belt regulations.
• Seat belt use on expressways is at 90% and 81% on surface streets.
• Seat belt use in passenger cars is 86%, 87% in vans and SUVs, and 74% in pickup trucks.
• Seat belt use on weekdays is 83%.
• Seat belt use on weekends is at 86%.

With so many people using seat belts, it is important that these safety devices be free from defects so that they are able to properly protect wearers in the event of a motor vehicle crash. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and our Chicago car accident lawyers have represented injury victims with defective seat belt claims against auto manufacturers and seat belt makers.

Common kinds of seat belt defects that can be grounds for a Chicago products liability complaint:

• Torn webbing
• Ribbed webbing
• Inertial unlatching
• Failed retractor
• Lap-only seat belts

Defective seat belts can lead to catastrophic car accident injuries. If a person using the seat belt is involved in a Chicago car accident and the safety restraint system malfunctions, the vehicle occupant could get thrown into the front or side windows, get ejected from the motor vehicle, or sustain a serious traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury if the roof crushes inward during a rollover accident.

Seat Belt Use in 2009, NHTSA, September 2009 (PDF)

Related Web Resources:
Safety advocates seek more seat belt use, USA Today, June 14, 2009

Seat Belts, Why You Should Use Them, OSU EHS

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