Defective Seat Belts

Of the more than five million vehicular accidents all across the U.S. in 2012, more than 2 million drivers and passengers required treatment in emergency departments, while more than 30,000 lost their lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), had the drivers, who got involved in accidents, only wore a seat belt, then the number of injuries and deaths could have been cut by no less than half.

A seat belt is a crash-safety device; it keeps a car driver and other car passengers from sustaining serious or fatal injuries during crashes. It is designed to keep their bodies from colliding into a vehicle’s hard interior surface or with another passenger, or from being thrown out of the car. To be truly effective in providing the protection it is intended to provide, however, a seat belt should be a combination of shoulder and lap belts.

Though seat belts have kept millions of drivers and passengers safe during collisions since the 1950s, there have also been times when these have failed to immunize anyone from injury or even death. Serious injuries or death have occurred when the force of impact is very strong (such as the force created as two speeding vehicles collide) or if there is a defect in the seat belt design or material.

In 1995, as many as 8,428,402 vehicles in the U.S. which were equipped with seat belts from Takata Corporation of Japan had to be recalled. The recall was made due to complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, saying that portions of the release buttons on the Takata seat belts could break off and jam belt latches – this could cause the belts to unbuckle in auto crashes. This defect was linked to 47 injuries. In November of 2015, Tesla Motors Inc. also decided to recall its entire all-electric Model S fleet due to a single incident wherein its sedan’s seat belt assembly broke.

According to a Dallas car accident lawyer, defects in seat belts is a result of an error committed because of carelessness or negligence. Due to this, what has been intended as a safety device has, instead,become a threat to life. Defective seat belts are products of negligent manufacturers and, under the tort law, innocent victims are given the right to seek compensation from parties whose actions unjustly cause injuries to others.

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