Demand for Clarification - 3

Dear Felix,

Your July 31 article “Seat-Belt Slack: Comfort Device in Indian Cars Raises Safety Concerns,” concerns me, too. At General Motors Corp., we recognize that customers will be most effectively protected by our safety belts when they know the proper way to wear them–without excessive slack. Our owner manuals fully explain how to adjust the belts. When adjusted properly, the comfort feature of the belts is a decided benefit to drivers and passengers. From my own experience I know that women, especially, benefit from the comfort and convenience afforded by this feature.

But to suggest that safety belts do not provide occupant protection is misleading, and may lead readers to the dangerous and mistaken conclusion that they are better off not wearing safety belts.

Belts equipped with the tension-relief mechanism became a standard feature in cars in the mid-l970s as GM sought to respond to customer requests for less tension and pressure from shoulder belts, and to increase public acceptance and use of seat belts. These efforts, along with the passage of belt-use laws, have resulted in more people buckling up, and more lives being saved in auto accidents.

GM safety belts are designed for customer safety and comfort, and our crash-test procedures exceed the federal requirements established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


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