Seat Belts: Objects in Motion Stay in Motion

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While seat belts are proven safety devices, severe accidents can still cause serious injury to properly restrained occupants. Newton’s first law states that objects in motion remain in motion until acted upon by an outside force. In a collision, a vehicle’s sudden stop does not instantly halt the occupant’s forward momentum. Seat belts effectively bind occupants to the vehicle, enabling them to decelerate with it rather than continuing to hurtle forward unimpeded.

Biomechanical engineers use the principles of physics to determine if occupants wore seat belts based on crash evidence. They can then analyze how seat belt use would have affected the forces from the accident and associated injuries. This involves assessing how injuries might differ had an unbelted occupant worn a seat belt, or if compartment collapse would cause the same harm regardless of belt use. These analyses are particularly useful in seat belt defense cases and occupant ejections.

Our team of biomechanical engineers are not only highly trained to assess motions and forces from accidents but also explain these complex mechanics in simple terms and analogies to aid clients and juries in the understanding of injury consistency, causation, and comparison situations. Contact us for a case review or to learn more.


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