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Journeys : Apr May 2012
D id you realise that the forces placed upon an unrestrained occupant in a collision at only 40 kilometres per hour are equivalent to landing on concrete after falling from a two-storey building? And did you know that in Australia over the past 12 months, 20% of motorists killed in crashes were not wearing a seat belt? Seat belts are in your car for a reason. Worn correctly, they double your chances of survival in a crash. Seat belts are designed to be worn low, firm and flat. The lap section should sit low across the bony str ucture of the hips, and the sash part of the belt across the torso over the collar bone. Seat belts worn incorrectly, such as wearing the sash part under the arm, do not prevent the torso from flexing forward and striking objects w ithin the vehicle. Older type lap seat belts still found in the rear centre seat of some vehicles also allow an occupant’s upper body to f lex over the belt. The body continues moving forward until stopped by a solid object – in some instances this can be the floor of the vehicle as the person’s body folds in half. This type of flexing causes severe trauma to the head, neck and spine and can result in paraplegia, intestinal perforation or death. Double your chances – click that belt! Constable Kelly Cordwell Tasmania Police Accident Investigation Unit Babies and young children should be seated in an approved restraint for their age. Children up to the age of 16 are safest travelling in the rear of a vehicle. It should be noted that pregnant women are required by law to wear a seat belt. Unrestrained passengers in a vehicle can potentially kill other occupants during a collision or sudden deceleration. And yet I have heard numerous excuses from motorists for not wearing a seat belt – such as ‘It’s uncomfortable’ or ‘It annoys me’. But wear ing a belt cannot possibly be as uncomfortable as hitting your head on the dashboard or windscreen, sustaining a severe and permanent injury or being killed. So wear them and wear them correctly – and make sure that all occupants are restrained before you drive off. Life on the move April / May 2012 21
Feb March 2012
Jun Jul 2012