While it's true that modern cars come with all kinds of new safety technologies, none provide a better defense against serious injuries or death than properly functioning seat belts. These undisputed kings of safety devices prevent inertia from taking its potentially deadly toll during accidents, stopping people from flying through windshields or smashing into dashboards. Keeping people in their seats during accidents helps to prevent thousands of unnecessary traffic deaths each year.
Unfortunately, drivers and passengers may not always be receiving the protection they need and expect from their seat belts. If a seat belt buckle is defective, damaged, or excessively worn, it may not function properly during a crash. The damage isn't always obvious until after it causes deadly results, so pay attention when getting into cars. The following issues are all signs it's time to replace seat belt buckles to ensure driver and passenger safety.
Sometimes, it seems like seat belt buckles are working perfectly when they are not. According to realtimecampaign.com, false latching is one of the most common types of seat belt defects. It occurs when the latch plate looks, feels, and sounds like it has fully latched after being inserted into the buckle, even though it has not. All it will take is a small amount of force to cause it to release, making a false-latching seat belt buckle more or less useless. When buckling a seat belt, make a point of tugging on it after it latches to identify this common problem.
Damage to the Latch Plate
Latch plates that are damaged, usually as a result of being bent out of place, often fail to latch properly. Occasionally examining seat belt latch plates to check for damage, bending, or stuck items can help to prevent this issue. Follow this link to find out how to replace the seat belt buckle latch plate before anyone sits in the seat while the car is in motion.
The buckles themselves are just as prone to damage. Small items can fall inside of them, including food particles, dirt, or even spilled beverages, and cause the buckles to malfunction. It's fine to try sticking a screwdriver in to remove whatever is causing the trouble, but if that doesn't resolve the issue, it's time to contact a company like Safety Restore to have the offending buckle replaced.
Whenever a car has been in an accident, however minor, it's important to check all of the seat belts for damage and issues with proper functioning. According to GM: Seat belt checks always required, regardless of damage to the car's exterior. It takes very little time to check a seat belt buckle after a crash, and those few moments could save someone's life.
Don't Underestimate the Importance of Properly Functioning Seat Belts
Properly functioning seat belts are the key to preventing unnecessary traffic deaths. If one or more of a car's seat belt buckles is damaged, don't put off fixing it. The buckle and latch plate can usually be replaced for very little money. Any delay is not worth the risk to life and limb.