The fatality and injury reducing effectiveness of Tap belts for back seat occupants is estimated by applying the double pair comparison method to 1975-86 Fatal Accident Reporting System and 1982-85 Pennsylvania accident data. Lap belts significantly reduce the risk of fatalities by 17-26 percent, serious injuries by 37 percent, moderate to serious injuries by 33 percent and injuries of any severity by 11 percent, relative to the unrestrained back seat occupant. Lap belts are primarily effective in nonfrontal crashes because the unrestrained back seat occupant is already well protected in frontals. Lap belted occupants have lower head injury risk but higher torso injury risk than unrestrained back seat occupants.
This paper presents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).