Seatbelts Save Lives Essay

1220 words - 5 pages

PAGE 10 Seatbelts PAGE 1
SEATBELTSTable of ContentsAbstract 3History 4How They Work 4Primary and Secondary Laws 5Seatbelts Save Lives 6Conclusion 8References 9AbstractSeatbelts save lives. However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one America dies every hour because they fail to wear a seatbelt (, 2001). Unfortunately, that equates to 8,760 Americans every year. If you don't wear a seatbelt I'm writing this paper to convince you to start. Specifically, I will detail the history of seatbelts, explain national laws that enforce seatbelt use, explain how seatbelts work, and finally, I will present statistical data that proves seatbelts save lives.Seatbelts Save LivesHistorySeatbelts first appeared in American cars in the early 1900s. However, with few other cars to collide with, seatbelts weren't used for personal protection but for keeping occupants inside their cars during bumpy rides. In 1950, the first factory-installed seatbelts appeared in the Nash Statesman and Ambassador models (Henkle, Gantz, & 2002).In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the automotive industry in the U.S. was largely unregulated and concern over safety was minimal. In fact, in 1965 over 50,000 people were estimated to have been killed in automobile crashes. That same year, the Senate passed a two-year, $320 million highway beautification bill that provided $5 million for a study of ways to dispose of scrapped cars, and only $500,000 for a study of highway safety (Henkle, Gantz, & 2002).However, in 1966 the Highway Safety Act and the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act were passed and today they are still recognized as the most substantial legislation regarding automotive industry standards. The legislation authorized the federal government to set and regulate motor vehicle and highway standards, and also created the National Highway Safety Bureau, which later became the NHTSA (Henkle, Gantz, & 2002). The resulting improvements in car designs included head rests, energy absorbing steering wheels, shatter-resistant windshields, and mandated installation of seatbelts. The results were successful because by 1970 automobile related deaths began to decline.How They WorkSeat belts work by keeping occupants in their cars during a crash and by lessening the impact of a crash. During impact, three distinct forces occur: first is the force of the vehicle colliding with another object, second is the force of the occupant's body colliding with the interior of the vehicle, and the third is the force of the occupant's internal organs colliding against the body's skeletal structure (Henkle, Gantz, & 2002). A seatbelt works by stopping the occupant with the car and thus preventing the body from continuing to travel at the car's original speed after the car has stopped. The seatbelt then spreads the deceleration energy over the larger and stronger parts of the body (pelvis, chest, and shoulders) which can absorb...

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