Seat belt deaths?

Okay, we all hear the weak arguments against wearing seatbelts that many people (often teenagers) will spout - “it’s safer to be thrown clear” et al.

This question is about a specific one: that you could be injured more by wearing a seatbelt, in some cases. Now, I agree that in rare cases you could be injured more by wearing the belt than not. However, has anyone ever been killed by a seatbelt?

I’ve always wondered how those teens, Speaker, knew that they’d be thrown clear instead of thrown under either their vehicle rolling onto them or into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

Seat Belt Use Fact Sheet 2003

Interesting factoid: In fatal crashes, 75 percent of all passenger car occupants who were totally ejected were killed. Only 1 percent of those occupants had been using a safety belt.

You’ll need to be more specific.
You mean the seatbelt killed the person, like moved up and wrapped around thier neck and tightened up, or like they drove into the water and were killed by the water because they couldn’t get out of the seatbelt?

I have seen videos on TV of people caught up in their seatbelts getting dragged out side the car but even in that case, it wouldn’t be the seatbelts that killed them but rather the injuries caused by the dragging or getting caught under the tire.

Guns don’t kill people…bullets kill people. That kind of thing.

No cite, but I I’m sure there have been occasions when people have been trapped in cars underwater or on fire and were unable to undo their belts, either because of damage to the mechanism or panic. Of course, there are lots of other things you have to do right to survive those scenarios.

None of which is an argument for not wearing seat belts every time you get in the car. The chances of such circumstances arising are so vanishingly small that they don’t bear consideration.

This is not exactly to the point of the OP, but I personally have been criticized for putting racing harnesses into my sports car for use during track activities because I haven’t also added a roll bar or cage. The critique is that if the car rolls over, a six-point harness (two shoulder belts, the lap belts, and two coming up from the floor between your legs) will hold your head firmly in place while the roof crushes it. With a standard three-point harness, you could slide over to the side. (Obviously, I have decided that the risk of rolling is low enough to be worth the better control I get from being firmly strapped into the car.)

Well not a seat belt exactly, but I do know of a fatality due to misuse of a restraint system.
Remember the automatic shoulder harness that many cars had in the late 70’s early 80’s? In Southern California there was a case where a young lady did NOT fasten her lap belt and the shoulder belt moved into place when the car started.
She was in an accident and slid out under the shoulder belt. Or tried to. When the belt got to her neck it killed her. The story quoted a police officer as saying that the accident would have been completely survivable if she had fastened the lap belt.

Other than that, I know of no cases where a belt caused a fatality.

[hijack] If anyone reading this has been saved from death or serious injury by using a three point harness in their I would ask that you take a moment and rasie a glass to Nils Bohlin the man that invented the 3 point belt.

over 1 million lives saved and still counting!

I was in an accident as a teenager where I was not wearing a seat belt and that fact cut down the injuries I suffered. The car that hit me hit the driver’s door which in turn hit me throwing me into the passenger’s lap. After the accident the driver’s door had a sharp peak that reached 3/4 of the way across the driver’s seat. I had a hole under my arm filled with paint and glass where the door had hit me. I realise that this is an uncommon outcome and always wear a seatbelt now.

I attended an accident outside my home some years ago in which a child became a quadriplegic in a low speed collision. He had not been wearing a seat belt and was thrown against the dashboard.

No cite for this (it was a long time ago), but when the UK made seat-belts compulsory there was a brief rise in the number of fatalities as drivers, feeling safer, drove faster than they had without seat belts. The introduction of driver’s airbags did not have the same “over confidence” effect as they are not so obvious during routine driving. Having said that, I would suggest that removing the airbag from the middle of the steering wheel and replacing it with a large metal spike would really focus the mind on safe driving!

I’ve worked in several trauma centers over the years. I can’t think of any examples of no seat belt being good.
My own brother was so severely injured in a multi roll over, he hung at the brink for 7 weeks in ICU. He’s in a group home now because he has no short term memory. His accident was a lesson in seatbelt use. He lost his brakes on a hill in the rain. The little pick up rolled 6 times. He was not wearing a belt; his passenger was. The passenger walked a half mile to get help. He had a scratch over his right eye, no stitches.
My brother had subdural & epidural bleeders, a torn liver, both lungs punctured, torn diaphram, flail chest, several places in his bowel were damaged. Both legs had compound fractures, right arm compound fracture several ribs broken. He lost about 1/2 his teeth.
The moral is: wear your seat belt & pay attention when that little “Brake warning” light comes on.

Hey, tonight the news in Seattle says someone died on I-5 when the driver fell asleep and the car flipped over several times. The driver was wearing seat belts and had minor injuries. The passenger had no belt, was thrown clear, and was killed.

There are two instances where a seat belt can cause injuries directly, and both have to do with improper seatbelt use.

The first I’ve heard called “submarining”. It’s seen most often when someone uses a shoulder belt without a lap belt, although it can happen with a lapbelt that’s too loose or worn too high up on the stomach (wear your lapbelt low, over your hipbones or thighs). In an accident you then slide under the belt, at least until you get to the chin. Severe neck injuries can result.

The other is when a seat belt is worn high on the belly without a shoulder belt and, in accident, the person jackknifes over the belt and get severe internal abdominal injuries. I’ve heard this is most often seen in children who are really too small for adult-sized belts, hence the reason for things like booster seats.

Both of the above aren’t terribly common.

Using full harnesses w/out a roll bar set-up can cause injury because the shoulder straps need to go from the floor , over the main hoop cross bar (which is at shoulder height ), and the be fastened into the harness system. When a wreck occurs and you are using a five point system a broken collarbone is the most common injury. (no cite but I recall this from Circle Track or Stock Car Racing Magazines).

I was involved in a severe accident and had I not been wearing my seatbelt, I would probably not be alive today. I had a most impressive set of bruises, but you need to consider the alternative.

I responded to a dispatch about a crash a few years ago where two people died. The car had more passengers than seatbelts, and an older lady in the back seat sat a young child on her lap, the put the seat/shoulder belt around both of them. When the driver went off the road and hit a tree at about 55mph, the child was crushed, and the lady was split open from the lower right abdomen to the upper left chest. Both D.O.A.

I would have no face if I hadn’t been wearing a seatbelt when I rear-ended a stationary vehicle at 28mph.

I always insist that my passengers wear their seatbelts in the back of the car too - in the event of an accident, I don’t want to be sledgehammered by one of their heads.

That happened to my step brother. He has a huge scar on his stomach. He was sitting in the middle of the back seat with the lap belt above his hips. He came very close to dying, and the doctor said that if he didn’t work out and have such strong abs, that he would have died.