Although it’s almost automatic to wear them when boarding a vehicle, seat belts have been around for only the past few decades. Since they were a relatively new technology, people in the 1980s didn’t see them as necessary for their safety. However, thanks to primary seat belt laws, consumers and brands brought about the reinvention and constant improvements of the belt and sash attachment in vehicles.
The progression of seat belts
Seat belts are components of your vehicle’s Supplemental Restraint System (SRS), which prevents the driver and passengers from experiencing harm during a car collision accident. Today’s current seat belt models are the product of years of development, from basic functions to automatic features. Continuous innovations on seat belts are always on the move, adapting to modern vehicle models and better ways to increase a passenger or driver’s safety.
In this article, we will discuss three models of seat belts and how they shaped the improvement of safety for vehicle passengers.
Two-point safety belts
Two-point safety belts generally restrain the rider across their torso or lap, connecting at the hip. The older version, or the lap belt, keeps a passenger from launching off a vehicle. However, it doesn’t offer any other protection besides keeping a person in place. This leaves a person vulnerable to head, neck, and shoulder injuries during impact.
The sash, or shoulder belt, is a step in the right direction since it can restrain a person’s upper body during impact. However, there were cases where people “submarined” by sliding underneath the belt. This is why combining the shoulder and lap belts were necessary to create a more seamless and safe model known as the three-point belt.
Three-point belts are the most common models of SRS components in modern vehicles. By stretching a sash across your lap and torso, the three fixed points on your shoulder and opposite sides of the hip create a secure restraining feature. Combining the effectiveness of lap and shoulder belts, it locks you in place while spreading the potential impact of force on your torso and shoulders. This reduces any potential risk of major injuries.
A more advanced iteration of the three-point belt is the Belt-in-Seat (BIS) model. Its sashes come from the backrest of your seat instead of the car’s frame, allowing reduced chaffing of the neck and shoulder when bracing for impact. This makes it a more comfortable seat belt to wear without sacrificing the functionality of a traditional three-point belt. Besides the improved comfort, it also has developed IS sensors that can adjust to changes in seat angles, especially during rollovers.
The five-point harness offers an extra layer of protection for the hips and between the legs, connecting the buckles in a central position over the chest. It’s a common configuration for infant car seats for added safety. Besides protecting fragile babies and toddlers, the five-point harness also fits professional race car drivers’ needs. This form of the seat belt is necessary for vehicles entering NASCAR competitions due to the nature of high-speed velocities a driver will experience. There’s also an upgraded configuration of six-point harnesses that has an additional strap between the legs.
Besides securing you in place during an accident, it locks you from further harm by using a retractor mechanism when your vehicle experiences a severe collision. It’s an excellent way to protect drivers from themselves and their surroundings. This is why it’s necessary to invest in repairing and replacing your car’s SRS components.
After going through a car accident, it’s necessary to repair your car’s SRS so that it can serve you again in the future. Safety Restore is the leading service for post-accident restorations, ensuring drivers that their car’s SRS components are safe and functional. If your car needs seat belt repair and replacement, contact us today!