The University of Adelaide CENTRE FOR AUTOMOTIVE SAFETY RESEARCH

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TitleSeat belt injuries and external markings at autopsy in cases of lethal vehicle crashes
AuthorsO'Donovan S, van den Heuvel C, Baldock MRJ, Humphries MA, Byard RW
Year2022
TypeJournal Article
AbstractA study was undertaken to determine what injuries are associated with the wearing of seat belts and if the presence of cutaneous seat belt markings observed on victims of lethal vehicle crashes increased the likelihood of underlying injury. Autopsy reports from the files at Forensic Science South Australia were reviewed for all fatal motor vehicle crashes from January 2014 to December 2018. A total of 173 cases were included for analysis with 127 occupants wearing seat belts at the time of impact (73.4%) (age range = 1893; mean = 45 M:F = 81:46). Of these, only 38 had external seat belt markings (29.9%) (age range = 1983; mean = 49 M:F = 20:18). Logistic regression modelling showed that occupants who were wearing seat belts were more likely to experience closed head injury without skull fractures in addition to mesenteric and gastrointestinal injury. Increasing body mass index increased the incidence of seat belt markings (p < 0.01) and markings were more likely to be found in the presence of bilateral pelvic fractures. Thus, external seat belt markings were observed in only a minority of seatbelt wearers, and more often in individuals with higher BMIs and with bilateral pelvic fractures (possibly associated with greater momentum and impact force).
Journal TitleMedicine, Science and the Law
Journal Volume (Issue)Online First
Noteshttps://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/00258024221127845

Reference
O'Donovan S, van den Heuvel C, Baldock MRJ, Humphries MA, Byard RW (2022). Seat belt injuries and external markings at autopsy in cases of lethal vehicle crashes. Medicine, Science and the Law, Online First.