This early 1950s film from the U.S. Department of Health, SAFETY THROUGH SEAT BELTS promotes the use of safety belts, and starts with footage of a U.S. Air Force pilot Lt. White wearing a safety harness in his airplane and then a seatbelt in his car. In this era the seat belt was a novelty, and the connection of auto seat belts to those used in airplanes was one often made because the U.S.A.F. was among the first organizations to mandate their use. (This was due in part to the research of Dr. John Paul Stapp, an Air Force Colonel who showed that many more pilots were dying in car crashes than in airplane accidents.)

At 1:50 the film shows the grim statistic that 1.5 million Americans are hurt in accidents with cars every year — and shows grim photographs of injuries and dead bodies at accident scenes. At 2:48, the campus of UCLA is shown where safety belt testing is being conducted by researchers. At 2:55, a series of experimental collisions are conducted including side-impact accidents. At 3:25, early crash test dummies are shown. Electronic recording apparatus and test equipment including Fastax high speed cameras are shown. A crash is seen at 5:48 with the driver ejected from one of the autos in slow-motion (the actual intersection incident took only 4 seconds). At 8:40 the crash test dummy is examined with its multiple injuries from the incident, from hitting the car frame and steering wheel.

At 9:57 the California Highway Patrol is seen, which adopted safety belts as standard in all of its cars with a significant reduction in injuries. And at 10:00, Dr. John Paul Stapp is seen on a rocket sled at Holloman Air Force Base, enduring a high speed deceleration. (For more on Stapp see the book “A History of Murphy’s Law” on Amazon.com)

A seat belt (also known as a seatbelt or safety belt) is a vehicle safety device designed to secure the occupant of a vehicle against harmful movement that may result during a collision or a sudden stop. A seat belt functions to reduce the likelihood of death or serious injury in a traffic collision by reducing the force of secondary impacts with interior strike hazards, by keeping occupants positioned correctly for maximum effectiveness of the airbag (if equipped) and by preventing occupants being ejected from the vehicle in a crash or if the vehicle rolls over.

When in motion, the driver and passengers are travelling at the same speed as the car. If the car suddenly stops or crashes, the driver and passengers continue at the same speed the car was going before it stopped. A seatbelt applies an opposing force to the driver and passengers to prevent them from falling out or making contact with the interior of the car. Seatbelts are considered Primary Restraint Systems (PRS), because of their vital role in occupant safety.

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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com

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