1985-04-01

Can We Improve the Crash Performance of Seat Belts? 851202

The publication last year of final rulemaking establishing requirements for the installation of automatic restraints in passenger cars, requires a shifting of priorities and resources by many members of the automobile industry for the development and adaptation of new automatic occupant restraint systems. The installation of automatic restraints in all passenger vehicles would appear to make further development of manual restraints unnecessary. Further reflection, however, confirms that manual seat belts, which have been shown to be the single most effective readily available means for the mitigation of the consequences of automobile collisions, are destined to continue to play an important role in traffic safety for years to come. Not only is there a realistic possibility that the enactment of compulsory seat belt use laws affecting a sufficiently large proportion of the U.S. population will be enacted by individual states so that automatic restraints will not be required, but manual belt systems will continue to be relied upon or required in other countries throughout the world. Continued investigations are warrented.

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