Seatbelts – who wears what and why

Posted on 27 September 2012

The wearing of seatbelts has been compulsory in New South Wales since 1971. Each year however, on average, 50 people are killed and 300 people seriously injured who were not wearing seatbelts. Investigators believe many of the deaths and injuries could have been prevented by the wearing of a seat belt. Here is a list of reminders why we wear them and how they should be worn for both adults and children.

The main function of a seatbelt in a crash situation is to:

  • decelerate the wearer as the vehicle is crushing
  • prevent the wearer from being flung around the inside of the vehicle
  • prevent the wearer from being flung from the vehicle and exposed to further possible injury from impacting objects or being run over by a vehicle
  • spread the force of the impact over the pelvis and chest which are stronger parts of your body in an impact situation

Other points to note include:

Fines and demerit points apply for not wearing a seat belt or for not wearing it correctly (see www.rta.nsw.gov.au/usingroads/penalties/demeritpoints/index.html )

  • There should be a seatbelt for every occupant carried in a car
  • Never share a seatbelt. In a crash situation, a child sharing a seatbelt with an adult would be crushed between the seatbelt and the adult
  • Seatbelts should be adjusted correctly to ensure the lap section lies across the hips and the sash crosses the chest and mid shoulder region. Children should never be placed in adult seatbelts which do not fit them correctly
  • Pregnant women should always wear a seatbelt and should ensure the lap section is worn as low as possible under the abdomen. The sash should pass between the women’s breasts

New National Child Restraint Laws were recently introduced and the RTA advises the following:

  • Children younger than six months must be secured in a rearward facing restraint
  • Children aged six months to under four years must be secured in either a rear or forward facing restraint
  • Children aged four years to under seven years must be secured in forward facing child restraint or booster seat
  • Children younger than four years cannot travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows
  • Children aged four years to under seven years cannot travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows, unless all other back seats are occupied by children younger than seven years in a child restraint or booster seat

Increase your safety and the safety of all people who travel with you by ensuring seat belts in your vehicle are fully operational, fitted correctly and that the correct child restraints are fitted when carrying children. No driver sets out to be involved in an accident but ensuring maximum safety for all occupants is a good start to keeping them as safe as you can.

Should you require legal assistance following an accident, contact Dooley and Associates and one of our legal team will assist you in dealing with your matter.

Seatbelts – who wears what and why 

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