Numerous studies have shown that seat belts save lives and reduce injuries during vehicle crashes. According to the State of New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, around 150 drivers are killed in crashes each year due to not wearing seat belts, while wearing seat belts saved the lives of more than 12,000 drivers in 2012.
Seat Belt Laws in New Jersey
In the Garden State all passenger vehicles, whatever their size, must be fitted with seat belts. The driver and all passengers age eight years and over, or at least 57 inches tall, must wear a seat belt whether they are in the front and rear of the vehicle. The driver of the vehicle is responsible for seat belt use of all occupants who are under the age of 18. Though you don’t even think about it when you fasten your seat belt, the device works to protect you in several different ways. When an accident occurs, the seat belt controls the energy that the driver or passengers will endure upon impact. It does so by retracting any slack and restrains the wearer. It also softens the load on the wearer as inertia moves him or her forward.
When a Seat Belt is Defective
If your seat belt is not working properly, and you are involved in an accident, this can result in increased injury. There are a number of ways in which a seat belt system may fail.
- Weakened restraint: If a seat belt’s material is worn or weakened, it may tear during the accident due to the force of the collision or because it is cut by sharp debris.
- Delayed restraint: If a seat belt’s system is defective, it may respond too slowly when the accident takes place. If this is the case, it will not take up the slack and restrain the wearer, so he or she will be thrown forward causing serious injuries.
- Improper stitching: If the stitching is defective, the force of inertia can cause the seat belt to come apart on impact.
- Buckle issues: If the buckle is defective, it may not be able to latch properly. In this case it may unbuckle during an accident, providing no restraint whatsoever.
If you have been involved in a vehicle accident and your injuries are worsened due to a defective seat belt, it may be the fault of the vehicle manufacturer. The New Jersey seat belt injury attorneys at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. we have an experienced team of personal injury attorneys who are dedicated to aiding our clients prove fault and successfully claim damages for injuries sustained. Contact us today at (609) 240-0040 to find out how we may be able to help you.