Do you need a seatbelt if you have an airbag (or six)?

At my volunteer house, we get called out for a multi-vehicle accident. Apparently, a brand new (2006) German Import crossed 4 lanes of traffic and hit head-on into the cement barrier in the median.

By virtue of traffic, our arrival vector and the ambulances that got there first, my ambulance was assigned to a barely injured belted driver of one of the cars that was struck by the German Import as it crossed 4 lanes of the interstate.

The passenger of the German Import was uninjured. Both front airbags, Both side airbags and both curtain airbags deployed on the German Import. The passenger wore her seatbelt.

I was about 30 yards away from the German Import. From there, I could see the outwardly bulging impression in the windshield. I could also see the ring on the driver's forehead as the other crew loaded her onto the backboard and began CPR. The ring was clearly visible because it was depressed about an inch into her skull. In fact her eyes, tongue and face were protruding from the pressure of the impact.

She was driving a brand new $25,000 car with all of the latest safety features but she died because she didn't use the most basic one: a seatbelt.

MY patient, on the other hand, was driving a 10 year old, inexpensive, Japanese sedan and was only shaken up. Seatbelt.

Buckle up, kids!


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