Seatbelts, good or bad?
Well the correct answer is both.
Use of a seatbelt, definitely restrains the occupant and avoids blunt trauma of the body to parts of the car; such as the dash, steering wheel and windshield. It is well documented that the use of restraints saves lives, reduces one from severe injuries and prevents the likelihood of ejection from a vehicle.
Is it all good though? Well, a restraining seatbelt protects the occupant from serious injuries; however, they do produce some injuries themselves. If rear-ended, the body first goes backwards into the seat, followed by a forward motion of the body. As the body is being thrust forward by the build of potential energy in the seat that has been converted to a forward moving kinetic energy, the body is quickly blocked from moving further forward due to the lap/shoulder belt. As the body and torso are suddenly stopped, the head continues to move forward without any restriction. This results in a strain/sprain and injury to the neck. These injuries usually result in pain in the neck, head, top of the shoulders and arms.
When asked if one should wear their seatbelt, the answer is definitely YES! The injuries sustained by use of the seatbelt outweigh the possibility of striking the windshield with your head, or worse, being ejected out of the vehicle.
It is easy to be complacent and not put the seatbelt on immediately when you get into your vehicle, but then don’t be surprised if you are not wearing a belt when and if you get into a collision.
It is better to have the initial inconvenience of putting your belt on before you start the car to avoid the famous line, “I wish I would have”. Also, remember please that the driver should carry the responsibility of making sure that all passengers are secured in their belts and that smaller passengers or infants have the correct restraining devices in place.
Lets use our available safety devices to help prevent severe injuries, in the event of an accident.