The Importance of Wearing a Seat Belt in Nepal.

Seatbelts can help to save lives. They are important safety features that, like air bags, help to protect a driver or passenger in a collision and minimize injuries. Those who do not wear their seatbelts while in a vehicle put themselves at greater risk of severe injury or even death. In addition to this higher injury risk, not wearing a seatbelt could also hurt your insurance claim should you be involved in an accident. Safety devices are very important in our everyday life. Many accidents happen every single day and proper use of safety restraints have saved many lives. It is important to recognize the importance of wearing one. But also the importance of the proper use of seat belts. Seat belts were first required by federal law, under Title 49 of the United States Code, Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, on January 1st, 1968. This law required all vehicles, except for buses, to be equipped with seat belts in each designated seating position. Seat belts save lives. To reinforce this fact, the Nepal will often place digital road signs along busy highways and roads that remind drivers that wearing a seat belt is the law, and show statistics of drivers killed in vehicular accidents on Nepals roads.

Passengers in a vehicle who are not wearing a seat belt can become projectiles during an accident. Unbuckled passengers can very easily be ejected through the front, rear or side windows, resulting in death.Passengers in the rear seat of an automobile who use both lap and should safety belts are 44% more likely to survive in crash. The percentage increases to 73% for rear seat passengers in Vans or SUV vehicles.Wearing a seat belt prevents passenger ejection during a severe accident that involves a rollover. The chances of surviving this type of accident increases 45% when wearing a proper safety restraint device. In pickup trucks, that number increases to 60%. 

In Nepal, all children young than 8 years old, unless the child is taller than 4’9″ tall, are required by law to be in an appropriate child safety seat system when riding in a passenger vehicle. The child safety seat must be installed according to manufacturer instructions and recommendations. Children who are 8 years or older, regardless of their height or weight, may use factory installed adult seat belt. However, studies show that children under 4’9″ are safer in a child seat, until they can properly fit the standard automobile seat belt.The law does not mandate where a child may ride in a vehicle, however, it does require that all child safety seats must be installed according to the seat manufacturer’s owners manual. Rear-facing infant seats are prohibited from use in the front seat of any vehicle with a passenger air bag, unless the vehicle is equipped with a manual “off” air bag switch. In general, children under the age of 12 are always safer when they ride in the rear seat of a passenger vehicle with a properly installed child safety seat system. All infant or child passenger restraint systems must meet or exceed federal standards for crash-tested restraint systems as set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Besides the obvious consequence of facing severe injury or death, not wearing your seatbelt can have other costly ramifications if you are involved in an accident. Since some autotrader allow insurance companies to hold you partially responsible for your own injuries and reduce your total settlement, you may also be burdened with paying substantial medical costs on your own. Head and spine injuries that are caused by failing to wear a seatbelt can lead to thousands of rupees in medical bills, which could lead to a lifetime of debt and possibly bankruptcy. To minimize your risk of harm in an accident and to ensure that you are compensated for the full extent of your injuries, it is strongly recommended that you wear your seatbelt in a vehicle at all times. Likewise, it is important to be fully insured in  case of an accident to protect you from accident liability and ensure that your injuries and damages are covered.

Safety belts are most effective when used properly. All vehicles made today have a lap/shoulder belt combination. Shoulder belts should go over the shoulder and across the center of the chest. Lap belts should fit snugly across the hips, not over the stomach. Never leave slack in your seatbelt. Never tuck a shoulder belt under your arm or behind your back for any reason, including to defeat the seatbelt alarm. Those alarms are there for a reason.  According to the Nepal department of Transportation, wearing a safety belt improves survival by 50 percent for front seat passengers during a crash. Wearing lap and shoulder belts (combined with air bags) is the most effective way to reduce fatalities and serious injuries in traffic collisions. During the mid of twentieth century, experts in the auto-industry realized that when a car meets an accident, the passengers in the car are injured more because they strike with the internal parts of the car like steering wheeldashboard etc. This fact led to the development of a device which would avoid the forward movement of passengers during events of sudden stoppage or crash, which is nothing but a seat belt. In terms of Physics, this phenomenon is nothing but inertia. When a car moves at certain speed, the passengers in the car also move with the same speed. Thus, making this entire system (i.e. car and passengers) act as a single unit. However, when the car comes to a halt suddenly, the inertia of the passengers i.e. the tendency to continue the state of motion, makes them move with their original speed which eventually results in a passenger striking the internal parts of the vehicle like a dashboard. Seat belt, in such a situation, applies the opposite force on the passenger thus preventing him/her from colliding. It's been proven time and again, on back roads and superhighways: A seat belt can save a life in a car accident on the roads of Nepal.

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