Do seatbelts save lives? The answer to this is rather simple, but the reasoning behind it is a bit more complex.
- Purpose. Simply put, seatbelts do save lives. In fact, that is what they are designed to do. They do the job so well that it has been estimated that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that more than 15,000 lives are saved each year in the United States alone. This is done through the basic mechanics involved with the seatbelt, how it protects the passengers, and whether they are being used properly.
- How it protects. Strictly speaking, seatbelts protects people by reducing the amount of trauma that a person can potentially experience. This trauma can basically be summed up with the classic line "It's not the fall that kills you, but the sudden stop at the end." The same is true with seatbelts. The force of a person traveling, and the stop either by hitting the interior of the vehicle, or getting tossed through the window, is what hurts people. Seatbelts prevent that from happening.
- Basic mechanics. Basically, a seatbelt is designed to do a few different things. The first is that the seatbelts are supposed to help slow down the person that is inside the car. By holding a person in place, this will help reduce the ability of the body to continue traveling in a particular direction. Next, seatbelts also help to spread out the force of an accident. The seatbelt will help reduce the amount of stress in a singular area, which can also cause injuries or death. Finally, a seatbelt is also designed to help keep a person inside the vehicle, by in effect typing the person directly to the frame of the vehicle.
- Buckling up correctly. The first step in buckling up correctly is to actually buckle up. Even the use of a simple lap belt can greatly reduce the danger that a vehicle's passenger will experience. That being said, the more restraints that are used will provide better protection for passengers. Due to this, the safest possible type of seatbelt would be the racing rig, is called a five-point restraint system.