Patients from car accidents arriving at eight hospitals in England, two in Scotland, one in Wales and four in Northern Ireland in the year before and the year after the introduction of the mandatory wearing of seat belts in the front seats of cars in the United Kingdom were compared. The study was designed to supplement the national statistics for dead and injured victims of road traffic accidents by showing the effect of the legislation on patients with injuries of different severities and by establishing the relative frequencies of injuries to specific organs before and after legislation. The study revealed a 15% reduction in patients brought to hospital, a 25% reduction in those requiring admission to wards, and a similar fall in bed-occupancy. There were fewer patients with severe injuries after legislation, and the numbers of patients with multiple severe or minor injuries were reduced. The only types of injuries that were definitely reduced in number were abrasions, contusions and wounds of the face and eye and brain and lung injuries. However, this study suggests that kidney injuries and fractures of the femur decreased as well as many minor injuries although these findings are not yet proven. Two injuries have apparently increased: fractures of the sternum and sprained necks. Over a wide range of injuries both drivers and front seat passengers have derived considerable benefits but the latter enjoyed the greater improvement. There is a group of injuries to the head (major brain injuries, some facial fractures and other minor scalp injuries) which has increased among drivers possibly due to contact between the driver's head and the steering wheel. The severity of injuries among the unbelted got worse in the second year. Late night and early morning motorists in this sample wore belts less often and suffered more severe injuries.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Department of Health and Social Security

    Office of the Chief Scientist
    Newcastle upon Tyne,   England 

    Her Majesty Stationary Office

    49 High Holborn
    London WC1V 6HB,   England 
  • Authors:
    • Rutherford, W H
    • Greenfield, T
    • Hayes, HRM
    • Nelson, J K
  • Publication Date: 1985

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 175 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00453160
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: N13 Res Rpt., HS-039 326
  • Files: HSL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Feb 28 1986 12:00AM