The problem of occupant impact severity reduction by effective use of available space was studied using a two-degree-of-freedom linear mathematical model implemented on a digital computer. An optimum-search method was employed to find the best values of stiffness and damping terms for linear lap and shoulder “belts” corresponding to specific vehicle pulseforms and geometry at speeds 10 to 60 mph. System performance was evaluated on the basis of a severity index comparing occupant deceleration data, and upon penalties imposed for occupant contact with vehicle interior structures. Comparison to biomechanical data indicates that the optimal linear system for 60 mph could produce serious injuries. Comparison to theoretical optimum values indicates considerable room for improvement, using active or nonlinear passive systems.