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Effectiveness of Shoulder Belts

Thomas G. Dickinson, MD
JAMA. 1982;247(14):1936-1937. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320390020016.
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To the Editor.—  The greatest single automotive safety development to attenuate the carnage caravan of our highways is the three-point suspension, lap belt-shoulder harness. When properly used, it affords tremendous protection.A point of concern: I have noted a defect in the slack adjustment of the cross shoulder-chest strap in a large percentage of vehicles I have driven in the past two to three years.The harness locks are vehicleimpact actuated, and these devices apparently work well. But for the locked harness to be effective, it must be in close proximity to the chest. The slack reel was designed to allow people to move about and adjust instrument dials in greater comfort. If, when returning to the upright position, the slack in the shoulder strap is not automatically taken up, then this leaves approximately 13 to 20 cm of slack for forward travel of the torso. This can allow the


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