Comfort and Usability of the Seat Belts 2001-01-0051
Seat belts are the primary occupant-protection devices for vehicle crashes. Field statistics show that proper usage of seat belts substantially contributes to decreases in the fatality rate and injury level. To collect first-hand information regarding seat belt comfort and usability, a questionnaire survey was conducted. The most significant problems were found as belt trapping in the door, awkward negotiating with clothes, belt twisting, belt locking up, and difficulty to locate the buckle. The survey results indicated that drivers who are over 40 years old have more complaints than younger drivers. When the driver's age increases to 55 and above, belt pulling force and inappropriate and loose fitting of the belt on the body become major issues. Female drivers have more complaints than male drivers. Short statured drivers need both hands to pull and guide the retracting of the belt. The participants who are over 66th percentile in terms of their weight have complaints about belt twisting. The coupe type of vehicles have the least comfortable seat belts compared with other vehicle types. The most comfortable seat belts are found in sedan and SUV type vehicles.