Las Vegas Sun

July 22, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

That seat belt could save your life

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It seems that almost weekly I read of accidents that may have been far less tragic if the occupants wore seat belts.

As a physicist, this pains me greatly because I know that the use of seat belts could likely be the one crucial factor enabling the occupants of vehicles to survive accidents, particularly in instances where they were ejected from the vehicle.

When a vehicle crashes or rolls, unpredictable and uncontrollable forces change its momentum. If the driver and other occupants are not physically attached via seat belts, they will continue in their original direction of motion, unabated, until they collide with something or are ejected from the interior of the vehicle

Vehicles are designed to protect occupants by distributing the energy from the crash into other external parts of the car. The key assumption and design factor is that the occupants are wearing seat belts.

I beseech my fellow Nevadans to develop the good habit of always wearing seat belts when driving or being driven.

The letter writer is an associate professor of physics at UNLV.

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  1. So, why not put them [seat belts] on school busses?

    CarmineD

  2. I'm with you, Prof. But not if it's mandatory. It's just another way to cede power to a power-hungry political class that whittles away at our freedoms bit by bit until it will control every aspect of our lives. Those dying by not wearing seat belts are merely Mother Natures way of thinning the herd so only the fittest survive. After all, if they are too dumb to protect themselves, how intelligent can they really be?

  3. Hi Carmine:

    You are absolutely correct. I have written about this earlier:

    http://missoulian.com/news/opinion/mailb...

    and

    http://letterstotheeditorblog.dallasnews...

    Thanks for the comment!

  4. Mr. Fink,

    The thinning the herd aspect is one way of looking at it.

    The problem is many of them don't die. Those not smart enough to wear the seat belts are also many of those that feel they don't have to have insurance and they cost you, me and the rest of the people a great deal taking care of them the rest of their lives.

    Is you free choice to wear a seat belt or not worth all the costs you pay with no choice for stupid people?

  5. There is another element to consider here: There have been cases (such as in rollovers) where the driver, if belted in, still had some semblance of control after the rollover or collision to avert an even worse accident (e.g. steering out of the opposing lane of traffic) and thus, the use of seat belts may not only save the lives of the driver and his/her passengers by being able to continue controlling the vehicle after the accident but may also save unsuspecting drivers and their passengers nearby.

  6. "Hi Carmine:

    You are absolutely correct. I have written about this earlier:

    http://missoulian.com/news/opinion/mailb......

    and

    http://letterstotheeditorblog.dallasnews......

    Thanks for the comment!

    Thank you. Nothing, no expense, no time, no effort is too much to ask/do in order to ensure our children are safe in transport.

    CarmineD

  7. Carmine:

    Totally agreed. If we can save the life of just one child (or adult for that matter), all of this effort will be worth it.

    Michael Pravica