On May 10, 1988 the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a Safety Recommendation authored by then-Chairman, Jim Burnett. The NTSB conducted a seatbelt performance study using 167 real-world crashes. One of their findings indicated that in order for vehicle occupants to be properly protected, seatbelts must be worn correctly. Because most front seats are designed to recline, individuals are often unaware of the dangers of reclining seat backs while the vehicle is in motion.

The NTSB recommended that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) “limit the angle of inclination allowable in reclining seats in passenger vehicles to no greater than the maximum angle that can safely be used with a lap/shoulder belt”. No action was taken by the NHTSA, who felt the manufacturers warnings were sufficient.

We reviewed the 2008 Ford Focus Owner’s Guide, which stated: “Always drive and ride with your seat back upright and the lap belt snug and low on the hips”. No further explanation is given. While the Quick Reference Guide provided with the 2008 Ford Focus does address multiple features of the vehicle, seatbelts are not mentioned. Further, no warnings or instructions were found on the actual seatbelt.

The Seattle CIREN Team at the University of Washington Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Study studied the effects of reclining seat backs in collisions. They concluded that “fully reclined seats are an independent risk factor for death in motor vehicle collision.”

If you or a loved one have been the victim of an injury due to a reclining seat back in a car wreck, please contact us today for an initial consultation to discuss your legal options for making the manufacturers responsible. If you have questions or need additional information, call Law Offices of Gary Green toll free and without obligation at 1-888-442-7947 or send us an e-mail at ggreen@gGreen.com.

Every state in the country has ongoing campaigns about the importance of using seat belts. In many states, you can even get ticketed for not wearing one. According to studies, a considerable percentage of the U.S. population doesn’t wear seat belts on a regular basis. Those who do use seat belts each and every time assume that they’re going to be safer than those who don’t. Unfortunately, things don’t always turn out that way. Although it’s rare, seat belt failure can and does occur. All too often, seat belts fail due to negligence during the manufacturing process or faulty design. If you’ve been a victim of seat belt failure, it’s critical to protect your rights; Law Offices of Gary Green can help.

Recalls Tell the Tale of Seat Belt Failure

You would think that car manufacturers would go to special lengths to ensure that the seat belts in their vehicles work properly and are designed well. Based on the types of recalls that have been made over the last decade or so, that clearly isn’t always true. In 2000, for example, GM and Ford recalled more than 300,000 vehicles due to concerns about seat belts that were unlatching at random. In 2005, GM also recalled more than 425,000 vans whose seat belts weren’t latching properly. In short, seat belt design flaws are legitimate causes for concern.

Have You Been the Victim of Seat Belt Failure?

If you were injured in an accident when your seat belt failed in some way, it’s important to know that you have rights. At Law Offices of Gary Green, we assist clients like you on a regular basis. Whether the webbing of your seat belt tore, your seat belt became unlatched or your belt’s retractor failed, the people who are responsible need to be held accountable for your pain and suffering.

Seat Belt Failure and You

When designed well and used properly, seat belts can be absolute lifesavers. Of the approximately 35,000 people who die in car accidents in the U.S. each year, about 50 percent of them could be saved by buckling up their seat belts. If you do the right thing and use your seat belt whenever you’re on the road, you expect to be as protected as possible. By bringing seat belt failure issues to light, you may be able to help others avoid pain, suffering or even death. Contact Law Offices of Gary Green today to get started on your case.

Friday, 6 July 2012 08:24

Lap Seat Belts

Written by Law Offices Of Gary Green

We all know that seatbelts were designed to save lives. Unfortunately, using a seatbelt incorrectly can lead to life threatening injuries or death. The issue we would like to highlight today is the use of lap belts only.

While lap belts are instrumental in preventing an individual from being ejected from a vehicle, when used alone, they can often cause more harm than good. When worn alone, lap belts can cause serious internal injuries during a car crash. When a collision occurs, the seatbelt stops the body from moving forward. With the three point harness system, the force is spread throughout the body. With the lap belt only, the entire force of your body moving forward is directed to one location: your abdomen.

Potential injuries include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Liver
  2. Kidney
  3. Spleen
  4. Intestines
  5. Stomach
  6. Spinal Cord


In September of 2007 federal law went into effect requiring a three point harness system for all backseat passengers. This still leaves millions of cars traveling the roadways with lap belts only. Several options are available for modifying the seatbelts in older vehicles. If your vehicle has lap belts only, check with your dealer or mechanic for modification options specific to your vehicle.