What is the button on the seat belt for?

In our cars, there are certain elements that we encounter regularly. Some of them have been a part of our driving experience for years, perhaps even appearing in previous car models. Strangely enough, there are features that we’ve grown accustomed to without fully understanding their purpose. Among these enigmatic elements are the small round buttons found on seat belts.

If you’ve ever wondered about the function of that unassuming round button on your seat belt, allow us to unravel the mystery for you.

button seat belt

The Purpose of the Button on Your Seat Belt

The seat belt is undoubtedly one of the primary passive safety features in a vehicle and plays a crucial role in saving lives in the event of an accident. According to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), wearing a seat belt can reduce the risk of death by 50% and the risk of serious injuries by as much as 75%.

While we’re all familiar with how seat belts function when we fasten them, there are certain elements we might have overlooked, assuming they were merely decorative. The seat belt includes a small button on the strap that serves a vital function during the fastening process. How, you may wonder? This unassuming button acts as a stopper, preventing the buckle from sliding along the strap and keeping it firmly in place at a specific point. Consequently, every time we pull the belt, we can easily do so by grabbing the buckle, which then conveniently aligns with the attachment point located next to the seat.

However, the button isn’t the sole retention system found in seat belts. In some cases, the fabric of the belt itself is designed to secure a specific position where the buckle rests when not in use, as illustrated in the image below.

seat belt retainer

Without these complementary elements, it would be much more challenging to locate the buckle when fastening the seat belt, as it would not remain conveniently fixed at shoulder height. Instead, we would need to retrieve it from the floor of the car since its own weight would cause it to shift downwards. Moreover, these features also ensure that the belt remains entirely flat and free from knots or folds.

€200 Fine and 4 Penalty Points for Misusing Seat Belts

Instances where seat belt restraints are not used correctly are subject to penalties to encourage proper usage. Misusing a seat belt is treated as a serious offense, carrying a fine of €200 and resulting in the loss of 4 points on the driver’s license. However, for a passenger found without a seat belt, only a monetary fine is imposed, without any points being deducted.

These penalties are in place because the improper use of seat belts is considered a grave violation. In Spain, the use of seat belts has been mandatory since 1974, but initially, this requirement only applied to roads. Since 1992, seat belt usage has also been obligatory in urban areas. Presently, all vehicle occupants must wear seat belts, regardless of their location, whether on public roads or within urban areas. In other words, all vehicle occupants must have their seat belts fastened at all times.