Seat Belts: Myth vs. Fact

October 27, 2021 | by BMI Staff

National Seat Belt Day exists to educate drivers and passengers, alike, of all the myths and facts surrounding this sometimes-controversial safety device. If you’ve ever ridden in a vehicle with someone who refuses to wear their seat belt for “safety reasons” of any kind, you may have been swayed or at least puzzled by their arguments against the life-saving restraint. In the state of Missouri, wearing a seat belt is required by law for anyone in a moving vehicle. Additionally, drivers are responsible for ensuring passengers under the age of 16 are buckled up. Aside from the fact that neglecting to wear a seat belt could result in a fine, we are here to discuss the other, more detrimental repercussions of skipping this practice. In order to dispel misinformation, here are a few myths and facts surrounding the safety of seat belts while operating or riding in a vehicle.

Myth #1: “My car has airbags, so I don’t need a seat belt.”

Airbags are considered supplemental restraints, and they were never intended to replace the use of seat belts. While airbags can cushion your blow in the case of an accident, the seat belt is responsible for keeping your body in the upright, restrained position necessary for airbags to work properly. If your body is not in the ideal position provided by your seat belt, air bags can cause serious, sometimes fatal injury when used alone.

Myth #2: “A seat belt may cause me to become trapped under water.”

Many seat-belt naysayers will employ this or similar arguments for why they are against wearing one. The notion of being trapped is a real fear and concern for some individuals. Fortunately, accidents involving water of any kind account for half of 1% of the total number of crashes. In addition, the only way to escape a vehicle in this obscure circumstance is to remain conscious, and you are much more likely to remain conscious if you are restrained by a seat belt during an accident.

Myth #3: “I am pregnant; therefore seat belts are dangerous for my baby.”

Pregnancy can be a very uncertain time for many women. Suddenly, your diet becomes restricted, your activity undergoes changes, and every move you make is for the protection of your child. A car crash of any magnitude can put pregnancies at great risk, which means it is that much more important to always wear your seat belt while pregnant. The best way to keep yourself and your baby safe while riding or driving is to place the lap belt underneath your stomach, across your pelvic bone. Never place the lap belt over your belly during pregnancy. If you do experience an accident while pregnant, try your best to remain calm and always seek medical attention immediately, even if the accident is minor.

We hope that this demystification of seat belts helps you and your loved ones understand the importance of this life-saving restraint. It may be uncomfortable at times, but wearing a seat belt is such a small way to prevent injury and death in any sized vehicle.