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Seat belt is the first line of defence against injury and it is an absolute necessity. Road traffic injuries often arises when seat belts are not used which causes death or permanent disability. Many people think that wearing a seat belt while driving is uncomfortable and restrictive, but this is not really the case, as getting used to wearing a seat belt while driving will automatically lead to feeling of comfort.

Some others avoid wearing seat belts while driving for short distances, believing that they do not need it to quickly reach their destination.

However, most accidents occur at a distance of less than 50 km from moving in the car, which indicates the necessity of wearing a seat belt to avoid accidents, even if the distance is short.

The Sultanate of Oman is considered one of the first countries in issuing legislation requiring the use of seat belts in vehicles. Decision No (P/13/1989) issued on April 24, 1989 for stipulating the compulsory use of seat belts, which was implemented on January 1, 1990. There is absolutely no doubt that seat belts are of great importance in reducing the size of serious injuries among passengers during traffic accidents.

The Royal Oman Police posted on its social media account that “wearing seat belts reduces the risk of death for front seat passengers by 40 per cent to 50 per cent. It also reduces the death risk of rear seat passengers by between 25 per cent and 75 per cent.”

The idea of personal safety systems such as seat belts and airbags are to keep the drivers from running out of the car, or hitting the steering wheel or windshield in the event of a sudden stop.

When you drive a car at a high speed, and have to press the brakes suddenly, the car will stop, while you will not.

The simple reason is inertia - the tendency of objects to move continuously until their speed is slowed down by any obstacle.

And without a seat belt or airbags on, you will either shoot out, or will hit the steering wheel or the windshield at the same speed to stop the inertia as a result of the tremendous force of collision.

One of the benefits of wearing a seat belt is the protection of all parts of the body, the most important of which are the spine and the brain. Injury to these two parts causes many health problems. It is also worth noting that it is important for the pregnant mother to wear the seat belt to protect herself and the child. Also, as for children whose height is less than 145 centimetres, it is better for them to sit in the child seat inside the car with the seat belt on, as this ensures more protection for their bodies, and it is recommended that children sit in the back seat not the front.

The General Traffic Department also published on its Twitter account the emergence of a new study supervised by American researchers that wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of people suffering liver damage by more than 20 per cent.

According to the British newspaper website Daily Mail, researchers found that among people who suffer from car accidents, seat belt bucklers are 21 per cent less likely to suffer severe liver injury, which rises to 26 per cent when airbags are present.

The lack of commitment to wearing seat belts is still a ‘widespread bad habit’, despite the fact that laws in most countries of the world require seat belts for every passenger in new vehicles, and that many of those countries have laws that require passengers to wear seat belts.

Statistics from the WHO show that wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of fatal injuries by up to 50 per cent for front-seat passengers and 75 per cent for those in the back seats.

In addition, laws that require children to be seat-belted and young children in securely secured seats, as well as to prevent children from sitting in front seats, reduce the risk of death by nearly 70 per cent for infants and between 54 per cent and 80 per cent for young children.

There is also a prevalent misconception among people that the back seat in the car is safer in the event of an accident, but this is confirmed to be incorrect, as the danger to the passengers sitting in the back seats is not limited to themselves only, but extends to others as well.

The enormous force that can throw the passenger’s body forward in an accident also poses a great danger to others.

Airbags, which were designed mainly to provide additional protection for vulnerable parts of the body, such as the head and face, may become a danger to a person whose body rushes quickly towards them at the moment of their inflation.

The risk is for adults, so it is also recommended that young children not ride in the front seat of the car.

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