Seat belts are one of the most important safety features of automobiles today. Since they were first mandated by the Department of Transportation, automobile makers have experimented with various designs that are supposed to keep people safe but also allow for comfort.
However, these safety devices do not always work as intended. American automakers have issued more than 1,000 defective seat belt recalls since 1996. Designers created many new seat belt designs to increase comfort, but these designs failed to keep passengers safe.
One of these designs, which did not end up keeping people safe, was a “window shade” seat belt. This design allowed an individual to introduce some slack into the seat belt intentionally. An individual could lock the belt in place and then go back and take the slack out when it was no longer needed. Many domestic auto manufacturers used this device as a tension-relieving device.
Unfortunately, many people accidentally introduced slack, which then was still present at the time of the accident. Another problem was that no one realized that any excess slack can be a grave hazard. Slack in seat belts greatly undercuts the effectiveness of the device. It allows for severe head impacts with the car’s interior structure. This includes an impact with the steering wheel, the windshield, the windshield header, or the dashboard.
Another design problem involves spool-out injuries. Seat belt designers generally design seat belts to lock when a vehicle experiences a certain level of deceleration. For example, during an impending collision. Certain belt designs contribute to the phenomenon of “skip lock.” This problem occurs when the seatbelt locks up late in the accident sequence or fails to lock up at all.
When a skip lock problem occurs, it results in excessive seat belt slack which again allows for the passenger’s head to collide with various parts of the interior of the car. In addition to head injuries, this problem contributes to spinal injuries.
How Can Habush Attorneys Help?
Please contact one of our attorneys today if a defective seat belt has caused you harm in an accident. Our experienced and qualified team of legal professionals is able to successfully conduct all the investigations needed to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve for your case. Our first consultation is free and confidential.