Seatbelts: Get To Know The Facts

| November 26, 2021 | 0 Comments
Photo of a driver with a seatbelt fastened

The three-point seatbelt is one of the greatest inventions in human history. This simple strapping has saved millions of lives and prevented many more people from being seriously injured in automobile accidents. The three-point seatbelt was invented in 1959 by Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin. It is now the standard personal safety device fitted in almost every production vehicle. Seatbelts are very simple in concept: they stop human bodies from being thrown from a seat during a sudden stop. A great many fatalities in car accidents are caused when people are flung free of a vehicle or into the dashboard. Here are some facts about the seatbelt – an invention still saving lives after 61 years in service. 


The use of seatbelts is thankfully very popular. In the United States of America, where seatbelt uptake has been historically very low, the percentage of drivers using the safety device rose to 90.3 percent in 2020. In that same year, 98.6 percent of UK car drivers were found to be wearing seatbelts. People buying car insurance in El Paso TX, Brisbane, Australia, and everywhere in between will notice a decrease in quote prices that correlates directly to the changes in seatbelt uptake. This is because fatalities and serious injuries often result in large payouts from insurance companies – meaning that they increase their prices to compensate for the risk. 


There is no doubt that seatbelts have made road travel less dangerous. The United States Department of Transport estimates that seatbelts saved 14995 lives in 2017 alone in the USA. An entire town’s worth of people owes their lives to Nils Bohlin’s unassuming invention. Despite the numerous innovations in vehicle safety that have been integrated into cars since the 1950s, it is still the humble seatbelt that saves the most lives. 

Almost half of all road fatalities in the United States of America involved people that were not wearing seatbelts. Being flung from a vehicle at high speed is almost always fatal. If you consider that the number of people who do not wear seatbelts is relatively low, a picture of extreme danger for non-seatbelt wearers emerges. 

Myths And Misunderstandings

Several myths and misunderstandings about seatbelts have been spread by people reluctant to adopt them. One such myth is that seatbelts are more likely to cause you harm than help you. Of course, seatbelts can hurt you if you are in a crash. Literally, everything in your vehicle can hurt you during an accident. The difference with seatbelts is that they can also save your life, whereas your dashboard most certainly cannot. 

A persistent myth surrounding seatbelts is that they can trap you within your car if you are underwater or in a fire. While it is true that a seatbelt needs to be unlatched in order to leave a car, you are far more likely to get out of a wreck if you are conscious and far more likely to be conscious if you are wearing a seatbelt. 

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