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History of Seat Belts and its Usage

Updated on March 31, 2011

Seat Belt

History of Seat Belts and its Usage.In auto mechanics, seat belts are anchored in the vehicle itself, in the event of a collision, restrain the occupant body tied to the seat, avoiding the collision with the internal structures and the projection out of the cockpit. They are one of the most important devices in the field of automotive safety. To avoid scratching the passengers, they are preferably made from soft materials, but the cut and scratch resistant. In Italy, the use of seat belts is mandated in Article 172 of the Highway Code (1992) and the provision of seat belts is an essential condition for the approval of a vehicle to be registered

Seat belts were invented more than a century: the first patent was the Frenchman Gustave Desirè Liebau (which he called "harnesses") in 1903. However, no high speed of the cars of those times and the risk of suffocation that they gave (at the time were in leather) caused the lack of dissemination dell'accorgimento

In 1957, following the experience of motor sport, in which are also of a nature to assist in supporting the body to the lateral acceleration, but they were introduced in some cars, although they were used more as a test for real conviction against Utility object. The results of the experiment were found to be very positive in 1960 were launched on the market the first seat belts as standard. In particular it was argued that the belts, if fitted properly, would have drastically reduced the danger of the impact of the chest with steering wheel of a sudden stop.

In 1973 France declared the mandatory seat belt law. Then all Western nations, including Italy, Alps followed the law (United States of America the first state to declare the compulsory was Massachusetts in 1975, although not currently mandatory in all states and their use). The first nation in the world is making it mandatory to Australia in 1971

The obligatory use of seat belts do not meet with unanimous, however: if the obligation supporters claim that seat belts would have saved large numbers of human lives and therefore have reduced health care costs borne by the public, just as thick are the positions contrary that may essentially be summarized in these topics:

-demonstrating the saving would be doubtful as to the source document (usually the government, in accordance with technical advice from non-exempt industries by economic interests and not based on historical data, as assertive without proof of the alleged effects avoided) and concerning the effect, since the pressure on the chest, around the heart (already the cause of the consequences of such oppression in susceptible individuals), and in case of accident would run in conjunction with the twist caused by the inertia of the game and could cause permanent damage may also potentially more serious than those resulting from the impact;

-belts prevented from leaving the vehicle in an emergency, for example in case of fire or the imminence or inevitability of that impact, or in case of accidental submersion or other contingency in which salvation may depend on leaving from the snapshot of the medium, forcing the victim to suffer the consequences of the paradoxically more important than those which are to be limited

- decisions about their personal safety, and how to guarantee the same would be the sole responsibility of those concerned, that from time to time, and each case should be able to decide whether it wished to make use of a device or not, through action without , for the most economically oppressive, if it imposes a statutory requirement that mocks the dignity of the individual in so far, and with a priori prejudice, consider the citizen incapable of autonomous choice on issues of great gravity and delicacy as his own health.

But we must bear in mind that the belts not only hold the occupant's body in order not to impact against the windshield or the dashboard, but also serve to place the occupant in the correct posture as possible in order to reduce the violence of ' impact of it against the air bag (you retrieve the so-called Out of Position).

Features and components

Safety belts, according to law, shall consist of:


belts: a flexible component designed to hold the body of the occupants. They consist of a web of interwoven strands of polymer and with the edges often swaged so as not to scratch the user's neck;


retractor: body allowing extraction of the strap to the desired length and lock in the event of a rapid extraction (such as acceleration, braking, bump, curve, etc.).


Controller: accessory belt that allows the height adjustment (the correct setting, under the law considered preferable technique in Italy, it would when the belt passes about halfway from the tip of the shoulder and neck);


Berths: attachment points on the structure of the vehicle, which belts are fixed;


oscillating ring: a tool that allows the seat belt which passes into the anchorage. It is usually made of steel with a molded plastic cover and its plastic deformation during the impact dissipates a small amount of energy;


clasp: a simple tool used to facilitate the attachment;


buckle with release button or "buckle branch" fast and loose connection device (actually only one) that connects the harness to the anchor point of the vehicle.


pretensioner: is a device that pyrotechnic generally, by exploding a small pyrotechnic charge in the event of a collision, drives a piston that retracts the belt (if applicable all'arrotolatore) or pull the buckle (buckle when applied to the branch). Once put into operation the pre-tensioner, this is no longer repairable and must be replaced. It is not activated if the belt is not withdrawn. Used to block the body of the occupant on the seat in place. It is important to recover the position errors of the occupant (Out of Position). The force applied by the belt pretensioner is called Slack. Not long ago we introduced the electric pretensioner, an electric motor that is wrapped around the waist on the side of the reel. Need to recover the Out of Position in a reversible way: the belt is pulled only during the collision and then is released. At the next collision can be reused without having to replace it.


All seat belts must be of approved type and have the approval mark in accordance with the regulations established by the Ministry of Transport.


Types of seat belts


The types of safety belts that can be used by law are:

lap: that only the fascia pelvis and is equipped with two anchor points (can be used on the central place on the central front and rear when the vehicle is so equipped);


diagonal: The diagonal belts wrap around the chest at an angle and have two anchor points. They also can be used on the rear side seats;


three points: it is the most popular car in Italy and the world. invented in 1959 by Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin, consist of a lap belt and a diagonal (used today on both the front and back seats and back);


harness: consists of a lap belt and two shoulder straps. The harness belts are used on cars from competition (eg cars and rally cars from Formula 1) and specific transport of persons under certain physical conditions.


The risks of driving without a seat belt led the manufacturers to incorporate into many cars, if not in use, a red light (the color of danger) depicting a man wearing seat belts properly, the indicator light is sometimes accompanies the release of an intermittent sound or a beep insisted that lasts until the proper placement of the belt slot.



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    • stars439 profile image


      8 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Very interesting hub, God Bless You.


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