Seatbelts, Again.

SeatbeltAs with everything else in our lives, the cost of not wearing a seatbelt is going up again. On April 18th the "bill" will $138 instead of $109. Of course, there will still be the $25 discount for early payment, but $113 is a lot of money to have to part with!

Vehicle occupants are well aware of the benefits of wearing a seatbelt and the requirement that they use them unless they are in possession of a medical exemption and produce form MV2025 or a Superintendent's long term exemption card to police at the roadside. What some don't seem to be aware of is that the belt must be worn properly.

It's a shoulder belt, not an armpit belt. This error is typically committed by women. The shoulder belt tucked under the arm instead of over the shoulder may cause injury to vital organs instead of preventing it. Collision forces need to be spread over the large bones in the shoulder, not the ribs. The same goes for placing the shoulder belt behind you.

If the vehicle was manufactured with a lap and shoulder belt combination, it must still be that way today. Removing the shoulder belt or replacing the combination with a lap belt only is not proper.

If the belt itself shows any kind of wear, it must be replaced, particularly if the wear is in the form of a tear. These belts will rip completely in a collision leaving the occupant free to fly. It is not a good idea to use a belt from an auto wrecker for replacement unless you can be certain that the used belt has never restrained anyone in a collision.

Don't use items that attach to or modify the way the seatbelt works unless you consult with your car dealer and they give assurance that the item is safe to use. Many aftermarket devices have received no testing or approval by regulatory bodies. If it doesn't say SAE or DOT on the packaging, chances are it may be unsafe.

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