Risk management

Fleet safety series

Keeping your seat belts safe

By law, most passenger cars on the road today should be equipped with seat safety belts, and many trucks also have this life saving equipment. But, wherever they are—in your car or in your rig—you should not take the condition of your seat belts for granted. 

While no standard guidelines covering life expectancy and recommended age for replacement have been offered, some specialists suggest that belt webbing or belt hardware should be replaced immediately if wear or other damage seems to indicate that the equipment’s total capacity to protect has been decreased. 

Therefore, periodic inspection of the seat belt is recommended. Here are the places to look: 

  1. Sections of webbing that make regular contact with metal hardware should be examined carefully. Continued abrasion of such vital points can weaken the fabric. 
  2. All spring mechanisms should be checked for proper functioning. 
  3. All metal hardware should be checked carefully for possible cracks or damaged areas. 
  4. Check to see whether the webbing slips under tension at buckles or other attachment points. 

It’s hard to predict whether a minor defect might alter the belts effectiveness in a crash, but if the defect is serious enough to raise a doubt, it should be repaired.


Insurance products and services are offered through Markel Specialty Commercial, a business division of Markel Service Incorporated, policies written by one or more Markel insurance companies. Terms and conditions for coverage may vary by state.

The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as all encompassing, or suitable for all situations, conditions, and environments. Please contact us or your attorney if you have any questions.