Building a Better Seatbelt


  Research engineers Brian Overby and Patrick Foltz run crash tests to help design a better seatbelt. (Credit: Sandy Hausman)

More than 50 years ago the federal government ordered car makers to install seat belts.

Originally designed for an average American man – 5 feet, 9 inches tall and 170 pounds – they have saved millions of lives, but one third of adults in this country are now obese, and seatbelts aren’t working so well for them.

That’s why engineers at the University of Virginia are studying the science of seatbelts, hoping to create safer restraints.

Sandy Hausman has details.

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