Thursday, August 29, 2019

headrest and seatbelt safety law history, and a look at step by step photos on how to upgrade your muscle car era Mopar to a bit more comfortable seat belts

It wasn’t until 1968 that the Federal Government passed the first federal seatbelt legislation. The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 208 required a front outboard lap belt in conjunction with a sash belt anchored above the B-pillar that latched separately to a buckle next to the lap belt buckle. The FMVSS mandate required the rear seats to have outboard lap belts.

In 1969, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in combination with FMVSS 202 required head restraints (headrests) in all new cars sold in the U.S. after January 1, 1969.
Headrests protect the head and neck from the whiplash affect from rear impact (as well as front impact recoil).

On January 1, 1972, the NHTSA required all vehicles to be equipped with a buzzer that’d sound when the seatbelt wasn’t installed.

For the 1974 MY, regulations required the manufacturers to make a single belt that had three anchor points (three-point seatbelt) for all front outboard seats.

The last regulation of the first wave of occupant safety and seatbelt improvements was the seatbelt interlock system (vehicle wouldn’t start with the driver or passenger seated unless the front seatbelts were worn) that was effective August 15, 1973 and required by NHTSA for all the 1974 MY passenger vehicles.

 While this law was extremely successful in getting front seat occupants to wear a seatbelt (28 pecent belt wearers in 1973 MY versus 59 percent in 1974 MY), the system’s complexity and resulting difficulty in starting the vehicle led to it being vehemently hated by most, and congress actually rescinded the legislation on October 16, 1974.

The damn ignition interlock seatbelts, and that infernal buzzer - one of the few federal laws I've ever heard of getting repealed because it annoyed a LOT of people

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