As early as the 1950’s, retractable seat belts have been in fashion in every car manufactured by famous automotive companies. Back then, seat belts were nothing but a misused car accessory. Its safety features aren’t really magnified. Seat belts can actually minimize and even prevent the ‘second impact’ in a crash; this impact is known to causes serious injuries, which may soon lead to coma, and death. Another protection seat belts offer is that it somewhat halts the wearer from being thrown from his seat during collision, or when the car comes to a sudden stop; they absorb inertia, allowing you to slow down.
The most basic seat belts provided by manufacturers in common cars are known as the three-point lap-and-shoulder safety belts. From the name itself, it straps around the driver’s and the passenger’s shoulder and both sides of the lap. This is known to be the best means of protection in almost all types of crash. Wearing safety belts will significantly lower the risk of being injured or killed in a crash. Another type of seat belt is the two-point lap safety belt. It most often installed in the center rear seat of cars. However, it won’t provide the same protection as that of a three-point lap-and-shoulder safety belt. Once locked, the safety belts should close-fit the wearer’s body. Retracting safety belts allows adjustments and has proper anchorage of the shoulder and lap straps. This allows the belt to be worn with ease. It may not completely stop the wearer from forward movement at least it can minimize the possibility of fatality and serious injuries.
In the 1970’s, the Australian Government mandated the law for the obligatory wearing of seat belts. They were the first country to implement the law. After a few years, other countries followed. Here in the Philippines, we have the Republic Act 8750, also known as the “Seat Belt Law.” It has been enforced since May 1, 2000. Basically, R.A. 8750 requires mandatory compliance by all private and public vehicles to use seat belt devices, and requiring vehicle manufacturers to install seat belt devices in all their manufactured vehicles. Additionally, as adapted from Chan Robles’ Group of Companies’ website, motorists should be informed of the following:
- The driver and passengers seated in front seat of a vehicle, especially automobiles, Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) and Utility Vehicles (UV), whether private or public, brand new or old should use the seat belt provided.
- Children, ages 6 and below, aren’t allowed to sit in front of the vehicle.
- Passengers not facing the front of the vehicle or seated on “jump seats” are not required to wear seat belts.
- For Public Utility Jeeps (PUJs), the driver and passengers in front should wear seat belts.
- For Public Utility Buses (PUBs), the driver, passengers seated directly behind the driver and passengers seated by the doors of the vehicle are required to wear seat belts.
- For School and Tourist Buses, seat belts should be worn by the driver, passengers seated directly behind the driver and passengers seated on the last row seats.
Of course, it’s common knowledge that violation of any law would have corresponding penalties and fines.
- The driver/conductor/owner/operator who are not wearing the Seat Belt:
- First offense – Php 250.00
- Second offense – Php 500.00
- Third offense – Php 1,000.00 and one week suspension of license.
2. The driver/conductor/owner/operator who did not inform passengers to wear the seat belt:
- For every offense – Php 300.00
3. The owner/operator who did not install seat belts (refitting):
- First offense Php 1,000.00
- Second offense – Php 2,000.00
- Third offense – Php 3,000.00 and 3 months suspension of Certificate of Registration.
4. The Manufacturer/Assembler/Importer/Distributor who did not provide [every] vehicle with seat belts:
- First offense – Php 5,000.00 and 1 year suspension of manufacturing/assembling/importing/distributing license.
- Second offense – Php 10,000.00 and 2 years suspension of manufacturing/assembling/importing/distributing license.
- Third offense – Php 20,000.00 and 5 years suspension of manufacturing/assembling/importing/distributing license.
Seat belts are in your car to keep you from the dangers of accidents. A car’s safety feature is not limited to seat belts. Airbags, head restraints, load restraints and the like helps a lot to prevent whiplash and other injuries you may acquire in a car mishap. Most importantly, make sure to have regular maintenance of your vehicle’s framework, engine, radiator, muffler, suspension, and other parts to ensure both car safety and driving safety.