Get To Know 

The Power Of Perkins

Connecticut Personal Injury Law Firm

  1. Home
  2.  • 
  3. Seat Belt Injuries
  4.  • Types Of Seat Belts

What Are The Most Common Types Of Seat Belts?

Seat belts are responsible for saving hundreds of thousands of lives since they were first implemented in vehicles. The belts stop a person’s forward movement in the case of an accident or sudden stop, and prevent the wearer from being thrown into a windshield or ejected from the vehicle.

While there are different types of seat belts that are used in cars, aircrafts, boats and other powered vehicles, there are six primary types of safety restraints that are used in passenger vehicles.

Common Seat Belt Designs

Lap Style

These seat belts were the first type of safety restraint created. The belt wraps across the waist of the occupant, and usually have an adjustment mechanism which allows them to be tightened or loosened. Today, they are most commonly found in airplanes.

Sash Type

The sash type of seat belt is worn over the occupant’s shoulder and is generally fastened at the waist, on the “B” pillar of the vehicle. Used mainly throughout the 1960’s, this style was found to have a design flaw that enabled occupants to slide out of it under certain accident conditions.

Lap/Sash (Non-Automatic)

As the name implies, this design is a combination of the lap style and sash type of seat belt. This design secures passengers from each side of the waist, as well as over the shoulder.

Inertia Reel (Automatic)

This version of the seat belt is the type most often found in vehicles. A more developed version of the lap/sash design, the inertia reel seat belt also uses a geared mechanism that locks in tension when a certain amount of force is pulled on the belt. Also considered a “three-point” design, this belt is made up of one single, continuous length of webbing, and helps to spread out the force of a collision through the shoulders, chest and pelvis. One known problem with this design is that it can allow occupants to slide out of the seat belt in the event of a rollover collision.


The BIS, or belt-in-seat type of restraint, was created in an attempt to remedy the sliding problems associated with the inertia reel style restraints. While still essentially a three-point system, the shoulder attachment location is actually moved to the backrest of the seat. Some claim that this type of restrain is safer in rollover crashes, but this is a subject of debate.

Five-Point Harness

The Five-Point Harness is commonly found in child safety seats, race cars and other high-performance vehicles. While it is somewhat restrictive when compared to most other seat belts, these belts are acknowledged as one of the safer types of seat belt designs currently available. An important design of these restraints is that each side of the “lap” section connects into a center belt and lock located between the legs of the occupant (which prevents vertical movement in the event of a rollover), while there is a separate belt for each shoulder. Another important design feature is that these belts are generally never fastened to the seat – they are bolted into the vehicle itself.

Injured by a Seat Belt? You Need Knowledgeable Connecticut Representation.

In a 30 mph collision, it is estimated that a 160-pound person who is not wearing a seat belt can strike a windshield or another object with as much as 4,000 pounds of force.

While this illustrates the life-saving power of seat belts, it also shows how much force can be exerted against the body by seat belts during an accident. Through simple physics, seat belts can cause serious injuries, like internal bleeding, cracked ribs or spinal cord injuries.

If you have been injured in a collision, and suspect that your seat belt malfunctioned, or that it caused or worsened your injuries, the attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers can help. Our personal injury attorneys have experience dealing with all types of car accidents as well as injuries caused by seat belts. If you think you may have a claim, call us today at 800-PERKINS, or use our case evaluation form to have one of our experienced Connecticut accident attorneys evaluate your case for free.