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Seatbelts and road traffic collision injuries

Alaa K Abbas, Ashraf F Hefny and Fikri M Abu-Zidan*

Author Affiliations

Trauma Group, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UAE University, Al-Ain

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World Journal of Emergency Surgery 2011, 6:18  doi:10.1186/1749-7922-6-18

Published: 28 May 2011


Modification of seatbelts and their legislation played an important role in reducing morbidity and mortality of occupants in road traffic collisions. We aimed to review seatbelt development, its mechanism of action and its effects. Seatbelts reduce injury by preventing the occupant from hitting the interior parts of the vehicle or being ejected from the car. We have made a linear regression correlation between the overall seatbelt compliance and road traffic death rates in 46 high income countries to study the relationship between seatbelt use and mortality. There was a very highly significant negative correlation between the seatbelt compliance and road traffic death rates (R = - 0.77, F = 65.5, p < 0.00001). Seatbelt-related injuries include spinal, abdominal or pelvic injuries. The presence of a seatbelt sign must raise the suspicion of an intra-abdominal injury. These injuries can be reduced if seatbelts were applied correctly. Although seatbelts were recognized as an important safety measure, it still remains underused in many countries. Enforcement of seatbelt usage by law is mandatory so as to reduce the toll of death of road traffic collisions.

Biomechanism; Road Traffic Collision; Injury; Mortality; Seatbelt compliance