|Seat Belt Accident
Most modern seat belts installed in the front passenger compartment of a vehicle are
equipped with pretensioners. Pretentioners are small pyrotechnic devices that deploy
when a vehicle is involved in a significant collision. When deployed, pretensioners
help in eliminating any slack in
an occupant's seat belt by abruptly retracting.
In many cases, an indirect consequence of the deployment of pretensioners is the
locking of a seat belt in its last worn condition. This allows accident reconstruction
experts the opportunity to opine on seat belt use. Seat belt use, in turn, often helps
reconstructionists understand the mechanism of injury to an occupant.
The investigation of a traffic accident will often involve the examination of a vehicle's
restraint systems, including seat belts. Based on its condition post-impact, an expert
reconstructionist may be able to tell if a seatbelt was buckled or not at the time of a
The National Highway Transportation Safety
Administration (NHTSA) tracks seat belt use and other
important statistics about traffic safety.
To read the NHTSA 2008 publication on seat belt use, click here.
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