Traffic Safety - March


 Over 40,000 people have died each year from motor vehicle crashes between 1995 and 2005.  Practically every study has shown that the risk of serious injury or fatality is reduced by 40 55 percent by using safety belts.  It only takes a few seconds to fasten a safety belt, and children learn by the example set by adults.


Massachusetts law requires the use of safety belts, and you should wear them at all times.  In Massachusetts, children under five years of age, weighing less than 40 pounds must use a child safety seat.  A booster seat is required for children under five and over 40 pounds, and is recommended for older children when needed to ensure a proper fit of the safety belts.


Most motor vehicle accidents consist of two impacts.  The first is the actual collision between the vehicles.  The second is when the occupant of the vehicle collides with the interior of the vehicle or after being ejected.  Most injuries occur during this secondary impact. Safety belts can reduce the risk of death or serious injury in the event of a crash:   


        More than half of the fatalities of 2004s crashes were not wearing safety belts.

        Motor vehicle injuries were the leading cause of death for the age group 1-34 in the United States in 2005

        Child Safety Seats reduce the risk of death in passenger cars by 71% for infants and 54% for children 1-4 years old.

        For children 4-7, booster seats reduce the risk of injury by 59% over the use of safety belts only.


Air bags, when combined with the proper use of safety belts provide increased protection in the event of a frontal impact.  However, there are some guidelines to keep in mind concerning airbags. Basic airbags deploy when the vehicle experiences a relatively severe frontal, or near-frontal collision.  They inflate in about 1/20 of a second, then immediately begin to deflate. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends drivers sit at least 10 inches away from the airbag module.  Children 12 and under should be seated in the rear seat area (with properly fastened safety belts), and a rear-facing infant carrier should never be placed in the passenger seat in front of an airbag module. Properly fastened safety belts help keep occupants in a position that maximizes the effectiveness of the airbags, and also help prevent further injury in the event of further impacts. Bear in mind that no safety device can prevent an injury in every instance. There is no substitute for driver awareness and caution.


For further information:

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

National Center for Injury Prevention and Control


Goto next month's traffic safety column . . .


The Malden Police Department disclaims all responsibility for accuracy and completeness, or errors and omissions of the information contained herein. Although the Department tries to assure the accuracy of all information presented, you should confirm all information before making any decisions based on it.

Copyright 2007 "Malden Police Department". All rights reserved.
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 05:58 PM