Seat Belt Counseling by Physicians Is Ineffective (But Seat Belts Are Still Important) | DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog

Physician-based counseling of patients regarding the proper use of seat belts and admonitions for driving while intoxicated do not lead to demonstrated improvements in behavior or public health, according to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.  Research conducted by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has found that while physician counseling causes no apparent harm, the benefits attributable to it are generally negligible. The group recommends that physicians and their patients may be better served by using office visit time to focus on other preventive care issues.

While a physician office visit may not be the most effective forum for safety belt education, the use of safety belts is critical to your health.  According to the National Safety Council, every car collision consists of three collisions:

  • The Car’s Collision The first collision is known as the car’s collision, which causes the car to buckle and bend as it hits something and comes to an abrupt stop. This occurs in approximately one-tenth of a second. The crushing of the front end absorbs some of the force of the crash and cushions the rest of the car. As a result, the passenger compartment comes to a more gradual stop than the front of the car.
  • The Human Collision The second collision occurs as the car’s occupants hit some part of the vehicle. At the moment of impact, unbelted occupants are still travelling at the vehicle’s original speed. Just after the vehicle comes to a complete stop, these unbelted occupants will slam into the steering wheel, the windshield, or some other part of the vehicle interior. Another form of human collision is the person-to-person impact. Many serious injuries are caused by unbelted occupants colliding with each other. In a crash, occupants tend to move toward the point of impact, not away from it. People in the front seat are often struck by unbelted rear-seat passengers who have become high-speed projectiles.
  • The Internal Collision Even after the occupant’s body comes to a complete stop, the internal organs are still moving forward. Suddenly, these organs hit other organs or the skeletal system. This third collision is the internal collision and often causes serious or fatal injuries.”

Properly worn safety belts spread the force of a sudden stop across your entire body, and stretch slightly to slow your body gradually on impact and increase its stopping distance.  Not only can safety belts save your life, they can significantly reduce the injuries you’re likely to suffer in an accident.

Previously on the D.C. Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog, we have posted articles related to:

If you or a family member believe that you have a case involving an automobile accident, please contact us on-line at Regan Zambri & Long or call us at (202) 753-4272 for a free consultation.  If you would like to receive our complimentary electronic newsletter, please click here.