Tool for cutting a seatbelt in an emergency

Designed to aid an occupant in cutting a restraint in order to get out of a wrecked vehicle


Lighted egress apparatus. The unitary body is configured for improved one-handed gripping and includes a pair of recessed cutting blades in a “V” configuration to entrap a belt and sever them as the cutting blades are pulled through a seat belt strap or other restraint. Light is situated near the cutting blades to illuminate the cutting area so the user can readily see what and where to cut.

Vehicle crashes happen regularly but it is striking that 2.35 million individuals are injured or disabled every year in the U.S. as a result of car crashes according to the Association for Safe International Travel.

While very few people would argue against wearing a seat belt in a vehicle their use rate is at 90 percent in the U.S. according to the Department of Transportation, and there are instances where these safety devices have kept individuals from getting out of a wrecked car.

Belt receptacle mechanisms can become jammed during impact and occupants can become incapable of reaching the release button. In such instances, it would be very helpful to have a tool which can be used by the occupant or a responder which can cut through the belt. Further, as potential entrapments can also occur at night, a tool with emergency lighting would be critical.

In view of the above, Army engineers have invented a cutting tool with a safety blade and light. The handheld device is configured for improved gripping and includes a pair of recessed cutting blades in a “V” configuration to entrap a belt. Recessing the cutting blades prevent fingers, hands, or other body parts from accidentally coming into contact with them and turning a bad situation worse. This feature is advantageous during highly stressed emergency extractions when the speed of operation is of life and death importance. The device would work equally well in cutting restraint straps in a child’s car seat.

The basic intent and function of this invention can be incorporated into many different configurations which would adapt to existing tools, knives, etc. simply by reconfiguring the variable mounting apparatus which houses the invention.

This US patent 9,840,226 is related to US patent 9,463,770 and US application number 20150224957.

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