NHRA tightens rules on seat belts
The usage of loosened seat belts has been an ongoing controversy with drivers in the Super-class categories for a number of years. Many drivers have fallen into the practice of competing with the five-point shoulder system not properly used in an attempt to improve finish-line vision. Many racers, fans, and officials have noticed this on a regular practice, and the NHRA Technical Department has released a clarification to the proper usage of seat belts.
According to Bob Stroud of Stroud Safety, "A racer does not understand the importance and safety function of wearing the seat belt as tight as possible. We have to assume racers are halfway intelligent, but this is proving they are not. They all believe they are not going to crash, because they are racers. That is a hard philosophy to get past."
A quick-release, three-inch shoulder harness meeting SFI Spec 16.1 is mandatory in all cars in competition required by the rules to have a roll bar or a roll cage. The seat belts must be used according to the manufacturer's suggested usage with the lap belt and shoulder straps tightened. Under manufacturer's warranty guidelines, the warranty is voided if the seat belts are not used properly, including "being snug to the driver's body."
Len Imbrogno, Director of Sportsman Racing & Member Tracks added, "This situation on the race track is getting worse, not better, and NHRA needed to step in and remind the racers to tighten their seat belts. We have implemented a program to check for such infractions and will have officials at the head of staging, burnout area, and standing on the starting line checking for proper seat belt usage. If the problem does not fix itself soon, NHRA will be forced to take further steps in the near future."
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