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Do you think seat belts "work"?

post #1 of 62
Thread Starter 
On the news today there was a story about a local teenager who died in a car crash last night- they hit a tree. He was wearing a seat belt and was killed. His passenger wasn't wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the car. He lived. This just doesn't make sense to me. It isn't the first time I've heard of stories like this, though. A friend of mine never wears her seat belt (I don't know if she buckles her kids) because her husband was on the volunteer fire dept. (what everyone did in the small, redneck town I grew up in) and claimed that he once had to watch people burn alive because they couldn't get their seat belt undone and the actual fire truck hadn't gotten there yet (or paramedics, etc.) We've always worn our seat belts. I'm not planning on not wearing our seat belts anymore, but I was wondering what your take on it would be. (I did contemplate keeping scissors in the glove compartment though after I heard my friends story about the people who were burned alive- I meant that is scary).
post #2 of 62
There will always be "freak" accidents like that - and they suck. However, seatbelts save way more lives than they don't save. I was in a crash (hit and run - no less), and my car was totaled. I was 31 weeks pg with my oldest. I needed chiropractic and pt for a while, but if I hadn't been wearing my seatbelt, I am convinced that I would have been seriously hurt and my daughter might have been, too. I saw a car crash when I was 16 where this couple flipped in their Suburban. They landed upside down and because of their seatbelts - they weren't seriously hurt. I could go on and on about this - I don't know anyone who was saved by NOT wearing their seatbelt. I don't know why the news agencies publish this - they just stir up the people who don't want to wear their seatbelts, yk?
post #3 of 62
I'm pulling this out of the memory banks from a discussion I heard on the radio a few years ago as to whether the government should be allowed to require you to wear a seatbelt; the "experts" said:

1-Getting thrown from the vehicle is far (far) more likely to result in death.
2-If you "drive off a cliff into water" and are not wearing a seat belt, you will likely be knocked unconsious and will not have the opportunity to unbuckle your belt.

There may be freak incidences where not wearing a belt saved someone, but you will not know that ahead of time.
post #4 of 62
I still wear my seatbelt after hitting a tree when I was 16 with my brother and a friend in the car. They were not wearing them and I was...we all came out fine actually, so I don't think it's the seatbelts themselves that save or take lives, but what other factors there are, but I am glad I was wearing my belt because my brother and friend didn't get thrown ONLY because there were parts of the car that blocked their exit path.

If I hadn't been wearing mine I might have gotten thrown.

You just don't know, and you can never know for sure.
post #5 of 62
I agree your survival chances are higher with wearing a seatbelt. I know someone that was drunk and ejected from the vehicle. He died. The other passenger was also drunk, but wearing a seatbelt. He lived.
post #6 of 62
My opinion is that basic physics isn't really a matter of opinion.
post #7 of 62
Of course they work for certain accidents. I was in a roll over with none of us wearing seatbelts and we walked away with 2 tiny scratches. The police officer that happened by (we didn't need to call because there was no damage to anything but our car) said we were damn lucky we hadn't been wearing our belts. We wear them now all the time, but I admit I am a lot more afraid of going out with the kids because of it. I HATE using car seats. The thought of my babies being burned alive is a lot harder to swallow then them being ejected from the car and possibly living. But I do it cause it's the law.
post #8 of 62
Yes. There are rare instances where people have survived because they were not wearing seat belts, but as a rule they save lives because they reduce or prevent head/face impact or being ejected from the car.

There will always be the lucky few who defy the odds, but you are more likely to survive by buckling up. There used to be a cop I knew who said I've never unbuckled a dead body.

My personal experience in with and without seatbelt accidents?

With, we were hit by a speeding motorcycle that ran a stop sign with an estimated speed of 50. He hit our car right in front of the passenger door and spun us 360 degrees. The bike flew over 120 feet and the 2 men on the bike ended up at opposite ends of the intersection. Our car was totalled and we came out with bruises on our shoulders from the seatbelts.

Without, 30 mph, someone pulled in front of me from a stop sign, I couldn't get stopped in time and hit my face on the steering wheel, broken nose, banged up knees, crunched front end.

Without 20 to 25 mph, just got the green light, barely into the intersection, Delta 88 Olds runs the light, brand new 16 year old driver broadsides me, crunches the crap out of my car. Knocked me silly for several minutes, I had bumps and bruises all over and wrenched my back.

Without, maybe 30 to 40 mph, as a passenger, idiot driving almost drove into an open trench in the middle of the road, instead jerked the wheel and spun into a pole. I ended up with a huge cut and a sprain that ended up stitched and casted, spent 6 weeks on crutches. Had bruises running up the length of my left side from pressing my body into the console hoping I wouldn't get thrown from the car while we were spinning.

For me, even at very slow speeds, bigger injuries without seatbelts. And I'm a lot more cautious about looking before jumping out into an intersection, and who I let drive.
post #9 of 62
Seat belts absolutely save lives. The design of your vehicle (frame, body style, condition etc.) coupled with your passive and active restraint systems assist in lessening severity of injury or death in the event of a collision also. There are usually many variables involved in every collision. As a result, unless an exact reconstruction could take place of the collision, it is impossible to answer with any degree of certainty why some restrained passengers are killed, and why those who are not restrained, aren't. Your friend is playing russian roulette with her life. Fewer than one half of one percent of crashes involve fire or water. If you are restrained, that ups your chances of remaining conscious, and less injured, which will consequently increase your chance of escape.
In addition, anything unrestrained in a MV will continue to move until it is stopped by an outside force (which is a brief definition of Newton's theory of motion). I believe that there is a high probability that the unrestrained passenger flew about the cabin of the car and struck the restrained driver before being ejected, in the crash you described. That is extreme blunt force trauma and unfortunately if the restrained driver was hit by the other occupant, it is likely that is what contributed greatly to his death.

DC
post #10 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by siennasmom View Post
My opinion is that basic physics isn't really a matter of opinion.
Was going to say the same thing. I believe seatbelts save more lives than they don't, and I also believe in gravity.
post #11 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synthea™ View Post
Of course they work for certain accidents. I was in a roll over with none of us wearing seatbelts and we walked away with 2 tiny scratches. The police officer that happened by (we didn't need to call because there was no damage to anything but our car) said we were damn lucky we hadn't been wearing our belts. We wear them now all the time, but I admit I am a lot more afraid of going out with the kids because of it. I HATE using car seats. The thought of my babies being burned alive is a lot harder to swallow then them being ejected from the car and possibly living. But I do it cause it's the law.
It's not so much getting ejected that's the problem, it's getting HALF ejected, which is pretty common in rollovers.
post #12 of 62
My uncle NEVER wears his seatbelt. He was in an accident not wearing his seatbelt and his friend who was wearing a seatbelt was killed. Since then, he figures he is better off without one. Then, a few years ago he was in another very serious accident with 2 of his friends. 2 were not wearing seatbelts, one was. My uncle (not wearing seatbelt) was thrown from the vehicle some crazy distance and people searched for him for around 24 hours until he was found, ALIVE. Barely alive, but alive nonetheless and he has recovered (not sure if he has any issues remaining from the accident but he's back working and living life normally). Both of his friends were killed, one wearing seatbelt and one not.

I don't really know what this anecdotal story proves (likely nothing), but my uncle is the only one I know that has been in a serious car accident and both times he survived while NOT wearing a seatbelt and while others in the vehicle wearing seatbelts were killed (although in his 2nd accident another person not wearing a seatbelt was also killed). Both were highway accidents. I always say that he's the luckiest unlucky guy I know.

That being said, everyone in my immediate family (including myself) wears their seatbelts and I always buckle up the kids and am a proponent of extended rear facing, extended harnessing, and extended booster seat use.

ETA: DH and I were rear-ended a couple years ago while stopped at a light. We were hit so hard that it pushed our vehicle across the entire intersection and it caused $15,000 damage to our vehicle. My seatbelt locked and my head flung back and hit the headrest (the whole point of the headrest!) and I had a headache for 2 days, and a serious case of whiplash. So, in my case my seatbelt and headrest did exactly what they were designed to do and without my seatbelt, maybe I would have gone through the windshield or would have been slammed into the dash at the very least.
post #13 of 62
I believe in scientific evidence, not anecdotal evidence.

There are times in my life where I've done everything I'm supposed to do and still been the 1% that has the bad thing happen (my births come to mind) yet I still believe that the things I did were the right thing to do, because they've been scientifically proven.

If you are worried about being trapped in the seatbelt, get one of those seatbelt cutters and make sure you keep it right by the driver's seatbelt.
post #14 of 62
Does physics 'work'?
post #15 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mightymoo View Post
I believe in scientific evidence, not anecdotal evidence.
Yeah, that but here's my anecdote:

I was in an bad accident wearing my seatbelt. I would have hit the windshield without one. I called my mother when I got home and thanked her for teaching us to always wear our seatbelts.
post #16 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by TechnoGranola View Post
I don't really know what this anecdotal story proves (likely nothing),..
I don't know, was he also FF and completely healthy?
post #17 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by boingo82 View Post
I don't know, was he also FF and completely healthy?
Good one! But really though, he survived, not one, but TWO deadly accidents without a seatbelt. I think he should start wearing his seatbelt AND buy a lottery ticket.
post #18 of 62
They do save lives, but in really really bad accidents, they just help the rescue team find the bodies.

My dad was an EMT for 15 years. That was his take on it. He'd seen plenty of accidents. Some he had to drink when he got home. I agree with my dad. They DO save lives, but sometimes, they just makeit easier to find the bodies.
post #19 of 62
My favorite one is 'We never wore seatbelts when we were kids and we all survived'

Uh yeah, cuz the ones that didn't survive AREN'T HERE TO TALK ABOUT IT! :
post #20 of 62
It certainly saved me from going through the windshield when we were in an accident in 2004...

Interestingly enough, when we were pulling out of the parking lot less the a minute before getting hit, I was very tired and leaned the seat back and figured I didn't need one. Then I got that little voice in my head that told me to buckle up, and just moments later we were hit, hard.
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