Seatbelts in a Collision

From a physics point of view, what would happen if you or your passengers were not wearing a seat belt and the car was brought to a sudden and abrupt halt by a collision with a big tree?

ANSWERS

  • Everyone inside the vehicle will move in the direction of impact until they are stopped by their seat belts or the inside surface of the vehicle.
  • Organs get jarred. Solid organs like the spleen and the liver fracture and bleed. Hollow organs like the stomach rupture. Vessels like the aorta tear. Lungs rupture or become punctured.
  • Seat belts protect the driver and passengers from the powerful forward moving forces and the three crashes that occur in any collision.
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Passenger Restraints Tips

Here are some helpful Do’s and Don’ts for seat belts.

  • DO – Wear your shoulder belt snugly over your shoulder and across the center of your chest.
  • DON’T – Tuck a shoulder belt behind your arm or back, or wear across your neck or face.
  • DON’T – Adjust your seat so far back that the shoulder belt doesn’t reach you—you could slip out from under it in a crash.
  • DO – Fit your lap belt snugly across your hips and upper thighs.
  • DON’T – Fit your lap belt over your stomach.
  • DO – Ask your car dealer about seat belt adjusters or extenders if the seat belt does not fit properly, and ask your car manufacturer how you can install a shoulder belt if your vehicle only has a lap belt.
  • DO – Model correct passenger restraint behavior for all children and passengers.
  • DO – Remember to tell all of your passengers to wear their seat belts!
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Impact of a Crash is Like…

Did you wear your seat belt when you drove to work today? If you had passengers, did they all buckle up?

Watch this 60-second video about the impact during a car crash.

Will you wear your seatbelt on the drive home today?

Seat belts:

  • Protect drivers and passengers by helping absorb the force of a crash.
  • Keep occupants from being ejected in a crash, a frequent cause of death when people aren’t properly secured.
  • Hold the driver in place so he or she can better control the vehicle.

Increase the odds of surviving a serious crash.

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Know the Odds of Passenger Restraints…

An estimated 9% of Texans are not buckling up, and nearly 1,000 Texans killed in car crashes were known to not be properly restrained in 2014 (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

 

  • Let’s watch this 40-second video of the impact a seat belt can make.

    • Now imagine four close friends or family members in your car with you. Drivers and passengers who buckle up are 45% less likely to die and 50% less likely to be moderately injured in a motor vehicle crash. Do you want to play the odds with your family or friends? (Didn’t think so!)
    • How many of you own or take frequent rides in a pickup truck? Seat belt use is the lowest for pickup trucks among all types of vehicles. In fatal crashes, pickups roll over almost twice as often as passenger cars!

    Conclusion: Seat belts—including child safety seats—are the least expensive and most effective way to save lives and reduce the severity of injuries. Do EVERYTHING you can, and buckle up!

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Does Everyone Have to Wear a Seat Belt?

  • Have you ever been in the car for a short time (ex: backing out of the driveway, going a few blocks to the store) where you don’t buckle up?
  • Before you drive away, do you turn around to make sure everyone in your car has a seat belt on?
  • If you are riding in a friend’s car or taxi cab, do you bother to buckle up? Do you have to?

Watch this video:

Texas law states that all passengers in a vehicle must be secured by a seat belt. Texas law enforcement officials will ticket anyone who isn’t wearing a seat belt, including adult passengers in the back seat and drivers with children improperly secured.

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Careless Carl

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Listen to this conversation between Carl and his passenger.

  • Does Careless Carl’s story or parts of it sound like anyone you know?
  • Even though Texas is one of only 20 states with seat belt use rates of 90% or higher, in 2014 nearly 1,000 Texans killed in car crashes were known to not be properly restrained.
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