Seat Belt Failure: How Does It Happen?
Wearing your seatbelt is one of the smartest actions a driver can take to protect themselves. According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “seat belt use in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 14,955 lives in 2017.” However, just like any other manufactured piece of equipment, seat belts can be defective.
Alarmingly, it is not uncommon for seat belts to fail. According to the NHTSA, approximately 3 million injuries and 40 thousand fatalities are reported each year from seat belts that fail to perform as expected during motor vehicle collisions. During rollover accidents, failed seatbelts are one of the leading causes of serious injury or death. Perhaps one of the most disturbing factors about these types of accidents is the fact that they are completely unnecessary and wholly preventable.
How can a seatbelt fail? Here are some of the most common factors:
- Retractor failure – A seat belt retractor is where the belt feeds from and is responsible for locking up during sudden stops. If the retractor malfunctions for some reason, the passenger will not receive the protection needed to prevent serious injury during a car accident.
- Latch failure – A seat belt latch is the contact point between the buckle and the actual belt itself. When the latch malfunctions of comes undone with applied force, this could mean serious injury for a passenger during a car accident
- Spooling – Spooling takes place when an excessive amount of the seat belt feeds out, which means that there is too much belt to adequately restrain the passenger during a collision. The lack of adequate restraint could result in serious — or even fatal — injuries during a vehicle collision.
Often times, victims of a serious car wreck are not even aware that a seat belt malfunction has occurred. This is why it is important to contact an expert who can correctly identify the signs of seat belt failure after a serious car wreck.
Contact a New York Product Liability Lawyer
Vehicle manufacturers have a duty to ensure that their seat belts will work properly in the event of a collision. If you or a loved one has suffered serious injury because of a seatbelt malfunction during a car wreck, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact a New York car accident attorney at Hach & Rose, LLP by calling (212) 779-0057 today.