Definition – Giants19

Are Seatbelts Safe?


Seatbelts have been a subject of controversy for many years. While some people believe that they are safe and can save lives in the event of an accident, others argue that they can cause serious injuries and even death. When you think of it in an abstract way, and understand that seatbelts often times lower peoples inhibitions and makes them less prepared for collision, it is not a completely absurd idea to suggest that seatbelts really no not do all that much to prevent risk, and risk often results in danger. Not to mention, seatbelts cause people to drive more erratically and pose more of a danger to themselves and others. This whole argument really boils down to how you define the word “risk”, as some people have different definitions than others. For that reason, I will spend this argument paper doing my best to do just that.


Oxford English Dictionary defines risk as “chance or possibility of danger, loss, or injury etc.” In general, risk is bad. Risk is something that you want to avoid as much as you possibly can when driving; which is exactly why seatbelts are dangerous. Once you feel safe, you lose your regard for your own safety, and therefore, are at a larger risk for danger. If you are driving, obviously your job is to get from point A to point B with as little risk of danger as possible to yourself and your passengers. In doing so, you wouldn’t want anything that would make you lose your sense of protection or to lower your ability to react. Humans are intrinsically protective of themselves when they are vulnerable. Taking this vulnerability away causes many people to become less focused, more easily distracted, and most importantly, more at risk. At the end of the day, risk is something that most people go out of their way to avoid, but the truth is that there are a lot of hidden risks in this world. Nobody would assume at first glance that wearing your seatbelt may pose more of a risk to somebody than driving without one, but the correct answer is not always the first one that appears. That being said, while risk is not always avoidable, I would prefer to always have the best chance instinctually to make the decisions or the maneuvers to keep myself and my passengers safe. When we break down what risk is, by its definition, we see that seatbelts cause drivers of vehicles a greater deal of risk than not having one because they give drivers a false sense of security.


A study was recently conducted in Kuwait testing what exactly it was that resulted in collisions on the road, it was found that a vast majority of the accidents were a result of human error, which can be attributed to losing ones sense of safety and becoming distracted. “The relationship between factors that contribute to human error and road transport accident also determined. Data were collected from 80 respondents. Plus, observational technique was conducted at two roads chosen in Pahang and Terengganu. The questionnaire results concluded that there had association between factors that contribute to human error and road transport accident.” (Adibah) This study shows us that human nature will always triumph over human invention. At the end of the day, that is what this argument boils down to. Those that are more willing to place their faith in their intrinsic human instincts than a man made machine will agree that wearing a seatbelt can present somebody with a greater risk than not wearing one.


In one instance, a 49-year old man with no underlying medical illness was killed when he got into an accident and his seatbelt compressed against his neck. The ironic thing about it is that if that man lived, he would probably be so very grateful that he wore that seatbelt. Who wouldn’t be initially? At first glance, it is the seatbelt that saved you. If you look closer, however, you can see that wearing the seatbelt caused you a much greater deal of risk than if you were without one. This is not even just seen in collisions of lower power/damage, as the man who was killed by his seatbelt when he would have otherwise been perfectly fine without one, was driving 110 kilometers per hour. Getting in a crash at 110 kilometers per hour was not enough to kill him, but the unpredictability and uncertain risk of his seatbelt certainly was. The one true way to truly mitigate day-by-day risk would be to begin driving without a seatbelt. In my opinion, if you limit your risk, you increase your safety, and as I have explained, not wearing a seatbelt is the ultimate way to limit your risk while driving. Following that process, the safest way for somebody to get from point A to point B would be without a seatbelt, rather than with one.

Another thing to note is how much somebodies risk of dying or getting injured in a crash decreases when the speed decreases. When do you drive faster, with a seatbelt, or without one? Assuming most people drive slower without their seatbelts on, this fact alone probably saves thousands of people a year. Without the fear of the potential repercussions that may arise from getting into a collision without a seatbelt on, your likelihood of getting into one significantly increases. At the end of the day, you just have to decide that it is more worth it to lower your risk of getting into an accident at all than increasing your risk by preparing for the accident. In wearing a seatbelt, it is almost as if you are welcoming a collision. You do something that will make getting in an accident more common, but you do it in order to mitigate the damages of said accidents. That is one of the most counter-intuitive things imaginable, even more so than neglecting to wear a seatbelt for the purpose of increasing safety.


Syarah Adibah, J., Mohd Najib, Y. (2022). Contributing Factors Towards Human Errors on Road Transport Safety Among Commercial Vehicle Drivers. In: , et al. Human-Centered Technology for a Better Tomorrow. Lecture Notes in Mechanical Engineering. Springer, Singapore.

Najari F, Alimohammadi AM. An Immediate Death by Seat Belt Compression; a Forensic Medicine Report. Emerg (Tehran). 2015 Fall;3(4):165-7. PMID: 26495409; PMCID: PMC4608342.

This entry was posted in Definition, Giants, Portfolio Giants, Portfolio SP23. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s