Knott Laboratory provides forensic engineering and animation, Civil & Structural, and Fire & Explosion Investigation services to reconstruct accidents.

Seat Belt Development and Current Design Features

Olof H. Jacobson, P.E., | Richard M. Ziernicki, Ph.D., P.E.

Historically, the original purpose of seat belts was preventing occupant ejection. This need was recognized by early automobile occupants navigating unpredictable roads in cars without doors or roofs.

Ejection prevention is still the primary purpose of seatbelts. For many years, a common myth said that one was better off being thrown clear of an automobile during an accident than remaining inside the car. Experienceshows, however, that ejection could actually be 25 times more lethal, and occupant ejections account for nearly 1/3 of all automotive fatalities.

Published By

Accident Reconstruction Journal, Vol. 6, No. 1 January/February 1994