Volkswagen research concludes that manual and automatic belts show similar effectiveness when worn. The difference in overall effectiveness between manual and automatic belts is basically related to the difference in belt use only. Mandatory belt use laws will help to further increase the effectiveness of both types of belt systems. Optimizing the vehicle structure to improve injury criteria for 35 mph crashes does not necessarily lead to better overall accident performance in the field.
Dietmar K. Haenchen
International Technical Conference on Enhanced Safety of Vehicles