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Lap Seat Belt Design Information

July 31, 2014

Lap style seat belts, also referred to as two point seat belts, are a restraint system with attachments at two points and commonly used prior to the introduction of the three point seat belt. Lap seat belt design were first introduced to the automobile industry in the early 1900’s to prevent passengers from falling out of their vehicles while traveling on bumpy roads, yet not to provide any sort of protection in the event of an accident. During this time period, passenger occupants were not concerned with the potential of an auto accident.

Today, seat belt use has reached around 88 percent from a national perspective, indicating that the majority of motorists and passenger occupants in the United States are using their seat belts to provide protection in the case of a traffic collision. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that seat belt use reduces the risk of accident injuries by approximately 50 percent. While safety mechanisms have certainly advanced, it is clear that the value of seat belt use was recognized many years ago.

Citrin Law Firm has been advocating for safe driving practices throughout Alabama for many years. Through our Citrin Safety Foundation, we have been able to give back to the community through a variety of initiatives which promote safe driving and the reduction of distracted driving. Our goal is to continue to protect the rights of all Alabama motorists in our pursuit of justice for all residents. If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, Citrin Law Firm is prepared to take on your case today.

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The History of the Lap Seat Belt Design

The history of the auto industry as a whole is one of many trials and challenges. Moving from a focus on functionality to style to safety, automobile manufacturers have had to adjust to changing times and, more importantly, changing national safety standards. Today, 49 states and the District of Columbia maintain mandatory seat belt laws; New Hampshire is the only state without safety belt laws in place.

While the current safety belts used in vehicles today is an advancement of lap seatbelt design, these two point belts laid the foundation for the future of seat belts throughout the world. Taking a look at the history of lap style seatbelts will help for all Alabama motorists to understand the intricacies of safety standards and how those intertwine with the progression of today’s seat belt.

  • 1930s: physicians throughout the nation begin to put lap seat belt design in their own vehicles while they urge all manufacturers to begin to place them in newly produced cars
  • 1953: installation of lap belts is promoted through the publishing of a new policy from the Colorado State Medical Society
  • 1954: drivers competing in the Sports Car Club of America are required to wear lap belts
  • 1954: Installation of lap style seatbelts on all automobiles is voted by the American Medical Association House of Delegates
  • 1955: Amendment is made to the California Vehicle Code in regard to requirements of State approval before the use or sale of seatbelts
  • 1955: American College of Surgeons, National Safety Council, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police all vote in support of installing lap belts in all automobiles
  • 1955: Motor Vehicle Seat Belt Committee is appointed by the Society of Automotive Engineers
  • 1956: Chrysler and Ford begin offering lap belts in the front seat options on some of their models
  • 1956: Ford implements its 2-year ad campaigns focusing on safety with special attention on seat belts
  • 1958: Volvo begins introduces the three point seat belt and begins to offer them in new models

Lap style seatbelts have clearly come a long way since they first appeared in the 1930’s. Since that time, developments in science and technology have greatly increased the amount of safety provided by safety belts. If you or a loved one has been injured during a motor vehicle collision, our Mobile personal injury lawyers are here for you.

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Dangers of the Lap Style Seat Belts

While passenger aircrafts generally still use the lap style seatbelts, legislation currently requires the three point seat belt for modern automobile manufactured. In the 1980’s, motor vehicle accidents and advancements in safety standards pointed to the dangers associated with the lap style seatbelts. For instance, lumbar vertebrae separation which sometimes caused paralysis had been occurring in accident victims. Named the “seat belt syndrome”, new regulations and safety requirements eventually led to the three point style safety belt used in every vehicle today.

Contact an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney Today

Citrin Law Firm has proudly provided professional legal services to residents throughout the state of Alabama. With more than 25 years of legal experience, our team of skilled Mobile accident injury lawyers understands what it takes to find success in the courtroom. Our goal is to achieve the maximum compensation possible for our clients.

With our main office in Mobile, the legal team of Citrin Law Firm is able to meet accident victims in any location throughout Alabama. We strongly believe that when the negligent acts of another driver cause injury or harm to you and your family members, this at-fault party must pay for the damages in which they cause. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash, Citrin Law Firm is available at your earliest convenience.

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