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How to Properly Wear A Seat Belt

To provide optimal protection for any rider, and to be in compliance with Michigan law, the lap portion of a lap/shoulder belt must be worn low and snug across the hips, and the shoulder portion must be snug across the chest, away from the neck and face. The shoulder portion should NEVER be worn behind the back or under the arm. In older vehicles with separate lap and shoulder restraints, both systems must be used. Improperly wearing a seat belt carries the same penalty as failing to wear a seat belt, and can cause more injury in some crashes than if the belt was not used. Consult your vehicle's owner's manual to determine proper use.

So, what can you do if your seat belt doesn't fit comfortably? Some smaller people, especially children, may find that the shoulder portion of a lap/shoulder belt rubs on their face or neck. Moving the seat forward or backward or shifting slightly in the seat can often relieve uncomfortable rubbing. Additionally, many newer vehicles have restraint systems that can be adjusted. Booster seats can be utilized for children, and provide more safety than the use of the vehicle's restraint system alone.

For larger people, if the vehicle's restraint system does not fit, the next step may be to purchase an aftermarket restraint system. Michigan law requires that any belt system installed must meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, so it's a good idea to have such a system installed professionally. Some manufacturer's produce seat belt extenders that do not meet the federal safety standards. Check packaging and labeling to determine compliance, and keep supporting documentation with your registration and insurance in the event of a traffic stop or a crash. Some extenders are provided free of charge by the dealer or manufacturer, if requested.

Devices used to introduce slack into the system do not meet federal safety standards. Using such a device is dangerous and put the occupant in violation of Michigan law.