According to the California Highway Patrol’s 2007 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, there were 188,551 collisions on state highways in 2007. Of the 188,551 collisions, 184994 resulted in injury. Following these collisions, most vehicle owners report the accident to their insurance company and have their vehicles repaired. Once the vehicle is repaired, the vehicle owners go on with their lives and continue to drive their cars with the same sense of security they had prior to the collision. What most people do not realize, however, is that they are now more likely to be seriously injured in a subsequent car accident if the dealership failed to do one thing – replace their seat belts.
Most people do not know a vehicle’s manual requires the replacement of all seatbelts worn during a collision. Unless a consumer actually reads the car manual cover to cover, they miss the section that states: “If a seat belt is worn during a crash, it must be replaced by the dealer. A belt that has been worn during a crash may not provide the same level of protection in a subsequent crash.” (2008 Honda Civic Owner’s Manual) If seat belts worn during a crash are not replaced they can be less effective in subsequent collisions and cause serious injuries and death. The replacement of your seat belts worn during a crash should be covered under your insurance policy and, as such, should be paid for by your insurance provider. When you take your vehicle to be repaired be sure to tell the repair shop or dealership which seatbelts were in use at the time of the collision. Once they know, the shop should replace the seat belts at the same time they make the repairs to your vehicle. If the repair shop/dealership does not replace the seat belts, show them that the car manual requires replacement of seat belts worn during a crash.
If the repair shop/dealership still refuses to replace the seat belts, contact your insurance company immediately and request that the seat belts be replaced. Of you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident, big or small, please review your car owner’s manual to see what your vehicle’s manufacturer requires. If necessary, contact your insurance company and request the replacement of your seat belts. Doing so may prevent possibly serious injury from a future collision.