Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Would a seatbelt have saved Adam London?

Updated: In a follow-on Wicked Local/TAB article, Howard London says his son was speeding:

And he was speeding—I know he was speeding—and he was told not to.

My heart goes out to the London family. I don't think there is anything harder or sadder than burying a child. And, I admire the hell out of Howard London for, so soon after Adam's death, acknowledging that Adam wasn't wearing a seatbelt and promising to promote seat-belt use.

But, when a crash is bad enough, seat belts don't make a difference. Based on the pictures, Adam's was a horrific crash. A seat belt may not have saved him. And, if that's so, it's going to take more to prevent a repeat.

We all need to wear our seat belts. I haven't driven or ridden in a car in probably 20 years without buckling up. But, we also need to get drivers to slow down. And, we need to redesign unsafe streets to make them safer.


Anonymous said...

It's hard to know if a seatbelt would save the driver who has lost control of a car. But it might, for this reason: when a driver first loses control of the car -- because of failure to negotiate a curve, an over-correction or hydroplaning -- a seat belt keeps the driver in his/her seat, behind the wheel with a chance of regaining at least some control over the vehicle. But when a car goes into a skid or spin, the unbelted driver can be pushed into the passenger seat, unable to reach either the steering wheel or the brake. A belted driver might well crash, but can retain enough control so that the accident is not nearly as bad as one where an unbelted driver has no control, sending the car spinning and the driver tossing around the interior.

Anonymous said...

I feel horrible for this family and very much respect their desire to keep other young drivers safe by promoting selt belt use.

I would add that putting on seat belts also serves as a reminder to drivers, especially young drivers, that cars are dangerous. Without a seatbelt, the front seat might feel more like a recliner at home.

Anonymous said...

Tp the first commenter, thank you very much for your comments. I have known Adam all his life. And this point is incredibly important in the message we intend to bring to the community. When you look at the car, a seat belt may not have saved Adam. It may have given him a fighting chance to regain control and it might have prevented much of the trauma on his body. Thank you for this point.