Every day emergency physicians see the tragic consequences of people not wearing safety belts. At the moment of impact in a traffic crash, people in the car are still traveling at the original speed. When the motor vehicle rapidly comes to a stop, anyone not wearing a safety belt will continue to move at that speed until their body slams into the steering wheel, windshield, other parts of the interior or they are ejected from the vehicle.
Safety belts are effective in reducing deaths and injuries caused during impact.
In a 55 mph crash, unbelted passengers of average size fly forward with a force of 3,000 pounds — enough to cause serious injury or death. Passengers in the backseat are just as vulnerable as those in the front.
Safety restraints should be used correctly to provide maximum protection in a crash. With just the shoulder strap on, you can still slide out from under it and be strangled. The lap belt alone does not keep your face from hitting the steering wheel, windshield or dashboard. Both straps must fit snuggly to transfer the impact of the collision to parts of your body that can take it — your hip bones and shoulder bones.