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Seat belts. A Safety Hazard?

When we think of automobile safety, one of the first things that come to mind is the seat belt. Annually, they save about 14,000 lives. However, they may present a problem.

Seat belts are designed to keep, for example, the average 40 year old man safe in the event of a crash. The force required to keep a man of this stature in place and safe may be too much for smaller or older drivers, and may cause additional injuries, according to an article by CBS News.

The article cites an instance of a motorist on the smaller side, a 5'4'' 60 year old, who was in a serious car accident. Her vehicle flipped over, and while the seat belt pinned her to her seat, researchers believe the belt may have also contributed to her concussion and back injuries.  

Time to think more about seat belts?

In the U.S., some 43 million drivers are over the age of 65. That's about one in every five drivers, with the number swelling as our population ages. 

This reality is leading some researchers to think about the need to design better seat belts, that respond to the physical stature of the person, rather than acting as a one size fits all instrument. 

Older and smaller drivers may face broken ribs or other injuries at the hands of seat belts that are designed for much larger, taller individuals. 

With the popularization of self-driving cars, many are thinking that it's time to once again re-examine the standards we have for our most basic safety devices.

Still, and always, WEAR YOUR SEAT BELT

Even if researchers believe that seat belts may cause additional injuries in some cases, they stress the importance of always wearing one. In those situations, passengers who weren't wearing seat belts would have risked much more serious injuries. They remind readers and passengers to always wear their seat belts and take proper safety precautions. 

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