According to KTVZ.com, an Oregon man was ejected from his hot rod after the vehicle left the road and rolled over. Robert Johnson was attempting to pass to slower drivers when he lost control of the 1969 Corvette after it veered off the road. The 64-year-old man was wearing a seat belt, but the something went wrong with the mounting or the bolt broke free during the crash. Although Johnson had added seat belts to the classic Corvette, they were not able to save his life.
In the majority of classic car crashes the reported injuries or fatalities come from a lack of safety features, such as seat belts. However, even when seat belts are added, they are not enough to withstand the violent nature of speed related crashes. In this circumstance, the authorities stated that speed is considered to be factor in the fatal crash.
It is important to keep safety in mind when building, restoring, or driving a classic car. Sure, a set of basic lap belts is better than the non-existent restraints found in a ’32 Ford, but are they truly safe? Seat belts may not be original, but the bare minimum may not be enough to save one’s life. Another point to consider is proper installation: are the belts mounted in the correct location and was the correct hardware used?
Racing organizations mandate the type of safety restraints and the mounting locations for competition use. Under normal circumstances the average driver does not require this level of protection, but if they opt to use the road as a racetrack then it might be worth investing in a set of 5-point harnesses.