We Know Injury Law

Is it true that seat belts can injure people during a crash?

On Behalf of | Jun 22, 2023 | Car Accidents |

Between public awareness campaigns and popular media, most people are aware of how important seat belts or safety restraints are when traveling in a motor vehicle. Despite having that knowledge, a significant portion of those on the road fail to consistently use seat belts in motor vehicles.

One of the many reasons that people give for not using a seat belt is that they don’t want to get hurt if a crash occurs. There have always been those who claim that safety restraints do as much harm as good during a crash.

Seat belt syndrome is a real crash injury

The purpose of a seat belt is to keep a driver or passenger in the vehicle when the sudden change in momentum during a crash would typically force them out of the vehicle. Those thrown from vehicles during collisions very frequently suffer deadly or life-altering injuries to their heads and spines. Consistently wearing a seatbelt, therefore, reduces somebody’s chance of the most catastrophic and deadliest injuries possible in collisions. However, it is still true that seat belts cause injuries in some cases. Those who suffer traumatic injuries caused by their seat belts during a crash have “seat belt syndrome.”

Seat belt syndrome typically involves bleeding in the abdomen or torso caused by the body’s sudden and forceful contact with the seat belt during the collision. Early warning signs include tenderness and bruising where the belt fell on the human body. Injuries can include broken bones and internal bleeding in many cases. If it goes unchecked, severe internal bleeding can sometimes prove fatal. However, unlike the traumatic injuries usually suffered without the use of a seatbelt, timely medical intervention can often treat the injuries caused by seatbelts.

You can also suffer whiplash-type injuries while wearing a seatbelt from your neck and back being thrown forward and back from the impact when the seatbelt tightens from the sudden force. However, a whiplash injury is still better than not wearing a seatbelt and being ejected from a moving vehicle.

The failure to use safety belts consistently is perhaps the one personal decision with the strongest correlation to increased fatal crash risk, other than driving while chemically impaired. Even when considering the most severe case of seat belt syndrome, the use of restraints will likely have protected the person from far worse injuries.


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