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View Full Version : How many dead bodies have you pulled from a seatbelt?



VWJetta
04-08-2008, 05:47 AM
I have never spoken to an officer who has answered anything other than 0. I've had my life saved twice by a seatbelt, and I was not at fault in either accident (wasn't even driving in one of them.)

Also, if you don't mind sharing, do you have a rough estimate on how many bodies you've pulled from car wrecks (unbelted occupants.)

CityCopDC
04-08-2008, 06:33 AM
I have never spoken to an officer who has answered anything other than 0. I've had my life saved twice by a seatbelt, and I was not at fault in either accident (wasn't even driving in one of them.)

Also, if you don't mind sharing, do you have a rough estimate on how many bodies you've pulled from car wrecks (unbelted occupants.

Seatbelt is not going to save your life doing 130+ on the freeway and crackup, head on into a jersey barrier. He was found UNDER the gas pedal. Do motorcycles count? I remember 7 years ago when the Honda CBR 929's first hit the scene. This guy and another guy on an R-1 were racing. Long story short, the guy popped a wheelie at like 90 mph, lost control and plowed into a telephone pole head on. The engine casing to the bike was found 3 city blocks away, the guys brain was in the middle of the street fully intact about 20 feet from the impact location.

Pumped
04-08-2008, 06:34 AM
One...no seatbelt

BulldogNY
04-08-2008, 06:50 AM
Three bodies came to mind. One double fatal where a couple who were both in their 70's hit a tree at 60+ MPH. The other we didn't actually pull from the seatbelt, the ashes were scraped up from the driver's seat. Driver hit a tree sideways and the gas tank ruptured and over a dozen gallons of gas sprayed into the passenger compartment. I stopped counting fatal accidents at 10, and that was 14 years ago. Total has to be over 100 fatal accidents. As the only supervisor working on the midnight I have to respond to them all and am typically second or third unit on the scene. Death notifications are the things I hate the most about this job.

Oh, I thought of a fourth person pulled from a seatbelt. The driver drove into a small grove of trees and a branch broke through the windshield and impaled the driver through the center of his chest.

For the record, a seatbelt has saved me more than once and IMHO only idiots refuse to wear them, but I have had the unpleasant task of undoing a seatbelt at a fatal.

SgtScott31
04-08-2008, 09:22 AM
Seatbelts save lives for a majority of crashes. I worked vehicle rescue for seven years prior to law enforcement, where my primary job responsibility was cutting people out of vehicles (extrication). What many people must realize is that seatbelts are not going to be very effective when speeds are high. Even properly restrained, head/neck trauma is going to be significant when speeds are 60+ mph.

My wife works full-time in EMS and aside from law enforcement, I am a full-time EMT-IV and still teach some extrication classes. I will always wear my seatbelt. Although it isn't guaranteed to save lives, it is highly likely to be effective in most cases when/where you are driving.

texaschickeee
04-08-2008, 09:30 AM
my selt belt saved my life in 06.
I wont be in a moving car with out one on........

Retired Chief
04-08-2008, 10:53 AM
Seat belts save lives, but don't fall for the hype that they are miraculous. Any officer who has not been to a wreck where a body is belted in hasn't been to very many crashes. However, if you're squeamish about it, the Firemen are usually the ones who remove the body.

hxd
04-08-2008, 11:21 AM
I lost count after about year five of my fire and EMS career.

Each body that I pull out of a seatbelt is one too many. If I'm pulling a body out of a seatbelt, it was most likely preventable.

I don't go to many accidents. I go to a lot of crashes though.

KAA951
04-08-2008, 12:37 PM
As you can see from the posts- Seat belts aren't magic but they will definetely increase you chance of living and have less injuries.

All the crashes I have worked where the fatals were wearing seatbelts were unsurvivable crashes. Example- when you car is struck from the side by an SUV at highway speed and pushes the driver door flush to the passenger door it doesn't matter- anyone in that passenger compartment is going to die and you won't extricate them from the car- you cut the car out of them.

I am all for seatbelts and would never get in a vehicle without one.

Woffski
04-08-2008, 08:26 PM
I have also lost count. There are alot. The only thing a seat belt is going to do is keep you in the car!!!:cool:

andy5746
04-08-2008, 11:55 PM
Only live bodies cut out of seat-belts. Dead ones on the road & through the windshield...

Well, except one... played chicken with a train, seat-belt wouldn't have made a difference either way....

It's all about putting the odds in your favor, like wearing your vest - not a guarantee of safety, but better than not wearing it.

KAA951
04-09-2008, 12:21 AM
The only thing a seat belt is going to do is keep you in the car!!!

I strongly disagree- and I have lost count / can't remember all the fatals I have been at or worked.

An example is my last fatal- a 17 year old who wasn't wearing his seatbelt- stayed in the vehicle but he fractured his skull on the A post, which could not have happened if he had been wearing his seatbelt. As it was he flew around the passenger compartment while the vehicle rolled- sustaining a fatal brain injury.

Steve Talley
04-09-2008, 12:52 AM
I would have to agree with KAA951. Last year I responded with one of our Traffic Homicide Investigators to a double fatality on the Interstate. Expadition flipped and the driver had on his seatbelt, his head came out the driver's window as the vehicle rolled over and crushed him. His wife wasn't belted in and was ejected. She landed in the on coming lanes and a Big Rig slid to a stop right over her. Not a pretty sight.

Motorcycles are the worst!!! We had a guy on a croch rocket running about 90mph when this lady pulled out infront of him. The bike hit her in the driver's door, flipped the car upside down. The rider died on impact due to his face contacting the top of the door and roof. The driver died later, she was pinned to the headliner on the passenger side of the car. The bike was stuck in the side of the car like an arrow. One of the craziest things I ever saw!!!

That's probably why I don't ride bikes!!!

Narco
04-09-2008, 12:56 AM
driver died last thurs night in a 4 fatality wreck. he was wearing his seatbelt.

DMS 525
04-09-2008, 12:56 AM
One. She was T-boned by an idiot who blew right through a stop sign doing about 60, and the impact snapped her neck.

Seat belts improve the odds greatly, but they won't save you from everything. Nonetheless, I never drive without them.

angelssix
04-09-2008, 07:27 AM
I have seen lots of single vehicle accidents that the seatbelt kept the driver in the car but he/ she still died.....the seatbelt is meant to keep you in a position to control the car in the event of an accident...it does save lives, but not in every case. I wear mine ALL the time.............

LeanG
04-09-2008, 09:56 AM
I had a 6-car, 2x-fatality and both were wearing their seatbelts. But let me add that if other occupants weren't also wearing theirs, then more than 2 people would've died that afternoon...

I work the highways and have seen my share of "high speed" crashes. Seatbelts weren't designed to offer much assistance for drivers who overturned their cars after crashing into a concrete barrier wall at 100+.

But for the most part, seatbelts save lives. I've also seen people walk away from (or get carted by ambulance) accidents that I've arrived on that I would've thought the worst.

WadsonF
04-09-2008, 02:36 PM
I thought this would be a tough question for most.

Interesting read.

Be safe out there.

ChopperCopper
04-09-2008, 03:38 PM
I went to a decapitation once on US 301 in FL. Single vehicle crash. Don't know why, but the driver (elderly female) rolled the vehicle, was ejected, and her head went *pop*, right off her body. Very surreal looking at a face with a peaceful expression, while the body was twenty feet away.

Smurfette_76
04-09-2008, 05:38 PM
It's the type of collision that matters much of the time. Seatbelt of not, if you're T-boned on the drivers side at a half way decent rate of speed, the trauma alone is going to be hard to survive.

I'd say that (for me) it's about 50/50. It's not that seatbelts don't save lives, but sometimes it keeps the occupant from moving.

Sharp
04-09-2008, 07:31 PM
Seatbelts are NOT a miracle device. If you smack into something at 30mph, you should be alright as long as you have a seatbelt/airbag. However, hitting someone head on at a combined speed of 120mph, the seatbelt will help, but maybe not as much. I always wear my seatbelt, and I have a friend who was in an accident where had she not had hers on, she would have definitely been seriously injured or killed.
Wear your seatbelts guys... If theyre uncomfortable, get a shoulder pad or something.

If youre really concerned about safety, check your crash test rating on your car. In a 5 star car, the body should be sturdy enough that the passenger compartment will not deform at all, and the doors should still be able to open/close and latch in a frontal impact at 40mph. (at least according to the EuroNCAP). I think every car should have Airbags and seatbelt pre-tensioners. Not to mention the handy little brackets that peel away during a crash to help slow you down.

xraodcop
04-09-2008, 08:27 PM
The only dead guy in a seat belt had been driving at 60 mph in a VW bug, and went to the opposing side and took a Ford Station wagon head-on.

schammer
04-09-2008, 09:02 PM
Ive seen my fair share of traffic fatalities, I can only remember 4 that were belted. 3 were fail to yield collisions. 2 were drivers, 1 was a passenger.
The latest one was a large 4x4 p/u vs. a mini van. large p/u went left of center traveling at least 15mph over posted 35 limit, victim had no chance. Her seat belt and air bags did what they were designed to, there was just to much force. Its sad really she and her husband would be celebrating their
50th anniversary next year.
Be safe out there.

VWJetta
04-10-2008, 12:24 AM
Ive seen my fair share of traffic fatalities, I can only remember 4 that were belted. 3 were fail to yield collisions. 2 were drivers, 1 was a passenger.
The latest one was a large 4x4 p/u vs. a mini van. large p/u went left of center traveling at least 15mph over posted 35 limit, victim had no chance. Her seat belt and air bags did what they were designed to, there was just to much force. Its sad really she and her husband would be celebrating their
50th anniversary next year.
Be safe out there.


Last accident I was in back in January, was coming home from work at around 0200-0300 and was hit head on by a Ford Explorer. Road was a 45 mph one lane highway/road. The driver of the Explorer passed out drunk, crossed the double yellow and hit me full speed. I reacted at the last second, braked and pulled left as hard as possible, fortunately the roads were dry. He hit me more on the passenger side front end luckily. I was told that the impact was the equivilant of more than 80mph. I was driving a 2004 Stage 3 Dodge SRT-4 if you're wondering.

My injuries? Lasserated spleen (2nd one I've had in a car accident, no big deal) and the wind knocked out of me from air bag. Spent the weekend in the hospital just to make sure my spleen didn't rupture.

I don't remember if the other driver made it and I really didn't care and still don't care.

PABear31
04-10-2008, 12:58 PM
I've investigated or assisted at several fatals where seat belts would have made no difference, but then seat belts aren't designed to prevent injury in side impact crashes. I can't count the number of fatal crashes I've been to that a seat belt would have prevented the fatality. The only fatality that I worked where we removed the deceaed from a seat belt should have been just a minor fender bender. Both vehicles were drivable. The female, front seat passenger was so obese that the sudden stop tore her heart loose from her aorta.

1042 Trooper
04-10-2008, 02:06 PM
Dead bodies? Seat belts?

Yep. One or two.

BC1260
04-10-2008, 04:10 PM
I can recall three (3) pulled out from seatbelt. One (1) who died on the side of the road after undoing his seatbelt( Friction mark on the seatbelt where it locked at impact proved he was wearing it) getting out and walking around for about 15 minutes. However, alot more fatal's from those not wearing seatbelt.

Operator13
04-11-2008, 07:16 AM
I have never spoken to an officer who has answered anything other than 0. I've had my life saved twice by a seatbelt, and I was not at fault in either accident (wasn't even driving in one of them.)

Also, if you don't mind sharing, do you have a rough estimate on how many bodies you've pulled from car wrecks (unbelted occupants.)

I'm not a LEO but have repsonded to literally thousands of accidents over the past 20 years.

I can recall 2 Fatals that were still belted in.

One was a mini-van rollover on a limited access highway, the roof was completley crushed in. Second was a female that hydro-planed and got sideways in front of a TT. The passenger side door had her pinned against the drivers side door.

The majority of fatal accidents that I've seen involved some type of ejection of an unrestrained occupant. I don't have an estimate on the number of bodies I've pulled over the years, but one crash involved 6 fatalities in two different vehicles. Not one person was belted in either vehicle.

t150vsuptpr
04-11-2008, 01:15 PM
TWO

I long ago lost track of the number of fatal crashes I had investigated (let alone also responded to) but I did make it nearly 1/2 of my career before I had a fatal involving a fatality belted in. Was actually "two in one" I guess.

Thanksgiving break starts. Young man at one school, no car. Hadn't seen his GF in a long spell. She drove an hour from her school to his school, he got behind the wheel, he driving the 3 hour drive to their home county, both had belt/harness on. Pooring rain, three lane road (2sb, 1 nb at scene ... center lane swithes back and forth as passing lane), 55 mph limit, road curved right, they went straight across both SB lanes into lone NB lane directly into path of large cement mixer truck with concrete pump on extended front bumper. Gard rail on his right, all he could do was try to stop, he was able to knock maybe 10 off before the late '70s GM car run under the front end head on at 50-60 mph ... so far that it was out of his sight from behind the wheel. Truck pushed car backwards to stop. Hook up wrecker to car. Drug car out from under, both her and he still belted in, both had heads turned right, both covered in oil and hydraulic fluid. Her bra in pass floor and blouse unbuttoned, not ripped. You tell me what was going on.

I have reconstructed a couple where belted passengers or operators were killed, they were already worked by a local trooper. Those involved virtual total destruction of vehicles, mixes of tractor trailers and cars, etc.

And I forgot .... my last fatal as of this writing, drove an old Ford Escort under a parked tractor trailer at 70, his body just wasn't long enough.

The majority of fatal accidents that I've seen involved some type of ejection of an unrestrained occupant. I don't have an estimate on the number of bodies I've pulled over the years, but one crash involved 6 fatalities in two different vehicles. Not one person was belted in either vehicle.Good observation. Right many of the fatals I worked also had belted folks who were treated and released, or not even hurt while other non belted folks in same vehicle died. When two girls in same SUV seated side by side run off the interstate and then get out of shape and flip as the driver steers back on to the interstate, and one who stays belted in get's not a scratch and the one who had only momentarily removed her belt to get something from back seat and who was back in her seat before the wreck happened, but who had not yet belted herself back in is DOA after being thrown out in the several rollovers .... it's a lesson not lost on me.