Is it safer to wear seatbelts, or not?

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eaw46

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I wear and have added some seat belts in any of my MVs that have a cab. I just think that in a crash I am going to hit something in the cab. I do not wear or install seatbelts in Jeeps with no ROP. If I have an accident in one of them I know I am going to be ejected. I am a retired LEO and have seen many accidents and have formed my own opinion and am not giving any advice.
 

fuzzytoaster

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One aspect no one has mentioned about wearing a seat belt is about keeping your butt in the seat to try and maintain control of your MV. If you run off the road (pre/post incident), get struck, etc etc.. you will be tossed, jostled, pushed, and thrown around in the seat before the final stop. I believe it's ones responsibility to do your best to maintain that control until stopped.

Imagine being in a situation where you're forced off the road and hit a burm but not able to keep your foot on the brake pedal or being thrown around the cab unable to keep steering because your anchor point (the lap belt) wasn't used.

I do understand where Swamp Donkey is coming from and have an inclination to agree with his logic, but if I were ejected from my MV and it kept going to cause more harm/damage..you bet your butt I'd always regret not being behind the wheel. I'd always think back to what I could have done or how I could have reacted in the seat instead of bouncing around in the cab or on the ground.
 

Castle Bravo

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...The passenger compartment of civilian vehicles is designed to absorb impacts, prevent intrusion and generally remain intact during an accident. The roof and pillars are designed to support the weight of the vehicle in a rollover. The seat belt is part of a system, which also includes the air bags, seat belt retractors and various other items. You also have soft interior trim, collapsible steering columns, crumple zones and various other designs all with the goal of absorbing impact before it gets to the occupants.

My M923 has a hard top. The majority of the M939 trucks came with soft tops. Does not matter either way. There are no actual pillars or cab reinforcements. None of the saftey features I listed above are present. It's all just sheetmetal. If the truck rolls, the cab will fail almost instantly under the weight of a 29k truck. Due to the high center of gravity, a rollover is highly likely no matter the type of accident or how it started. The windshield is near vertical and a very short distance from your face. With only a lap belt, and no shoulder belt, part of you is going to hit or go through the windshield if you hit something, whether buckled or not. There is a valid reason the military designed the ROPS cabs for the M939A2 trucks. They were trying to increase survability in the common event of a rollover...
It might be interesting to observe the data in the post-seatbelt, but pre-airbag era. Would such an observation yield more appropriately comparable data?

---

At the end of the day, one thing comes to mind - Sir Issac Newton is a deadly guy.
 

Robo McDuff

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One aspect no one has mentioned about wearing a seat belt is about keeping your butt in the seat to try and maintain control of your MV. If you run off the road (pre/post incident), get struck, etc etc.. you will be tossed, jostled, pushed, and thrown around in the seat before the final stop. I believe it's ones responsibility to do your best to maintain that control until stopped.

Imagine being in a situation where you're forced off the road and hit a burm but not able to keep your foot on the brake pedal or being thrown around the cab unable to keep steering because your anchor point (the lap belt) wasn't used.

I do understand where Swamp Donkey is coming from and have an inclination to agree with his logic, but if I were ejected from my MV and it kept going to cause more harm/damage..you bet your butt I'd always regret not being behind the wheel. I'd always think back to what I could have done or how I could have reacted in the seat instead of bouncing around in the cab or on the ground.
That's a good observation. I was watching the Ice Road Truckers, and you see these people jumping and being jostled around the cab on those bad roads. I think they are driving without seat belts as well and was wondering about that. Being thrown through the cab is not actually the best form of steering control.

Actually, when crossing frozen lakes, they sometimes have the truck in cruise control at 10 mph and are standing on the boards outside the cab, just to be able to get the heck away if the ice breaks. But that's something completely else, no danger of rollovers there.
 

M813rc

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Fuzzy made a good point that was implied but not expounded on previously. I think many folks just really don't fully grasp the physics involved, the forces exerted on them when things go pearshaped in a vehicle.

Many years ago when car seats for kids were a fairly new thing, we used to conduct a public safety program to teach parents why they should use them. So many parents said "I feel safer just holding my baby. I know they are safe in my arms".
To teach them about the forces involved, we would give them a melon that weighed less than 10 pounds, tell them to hold onto to it tightly as if it were their baby, seatbelt them in a car and take them out on our test track. At 25mph we'd warn them, "Hold tight to that melon" and then hit the brakes. 100% of the melons ended up exploding on the dash and floor. Point proven.
We'd do the same training with body weighted dolls too, but one of those on the floor didn't have the same effect on people as lots of red gooey melon innards.

The same principles apply to adults, just think about your own body weight versus a 10 pound melon and decide if you think you can hang on to that steering wheel at say 5gs.

Cheers
 

Jbulach

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We should probably be driving with our doors off as well. If you don’t have time to unbuckle, you probably don’t have time to do anything else, before you do your superhero maneuver during a crash, be it bailing out, or the starfish method...
 

msgjd

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Sure will be a lot of opinions on one side or the other. In the 80's I worked with a retired town cop, long-gone now. His very- simplistic attitude was that it depended on a lot of things and a 50-50 chance. He had seen death at both sides. I witnessed one where a very young child was strapped in a rear-facing car seat in the back. That part of the car got crushed. The EMT's said if the child had not been strapped, it would've at least been thrown to a safer part of the car and not crushed to death, but who knows at what other injury. A friend of mine burned to death in a (minor) tractor-trailer wreck, witnesses said he appeared unhurt and was struggling frantically to remove his belt when the flames spread to the cab. He had a young wife and two little kids. I know others who were saved by a belt, no doubt about it.

The answer lies in the type of vehicle, the circumstance of the crash, and luck, or unluck. Hit a cow 40 years ago and would've been much better with my lap belt on. HOWEVER, also back then I was a passenger in a 20mph CJ rollover. With the jeep upside down above me like a harmless tent (thank you rollbar!), I was sitting upright next to a big rock which was now smack dab in the free space below my inverted seat. Had I been wearing the lap belt, my head woulda been a smashed pumpkin and you wouldn't be reading this. That one was a REAL eye-opener. Of course there are situations where belts save lives, they surely saved my butt on the race track. But not wearing one in that jeep saved mine that day. I also refuse to wear a belt in any 6x6 on dangerous road or terrain, I feel I have a better chance without it. Whether or not I belt in a normal vehicle depends on location, traffic, road conditions, and speed.

I experienced both sides of the issue and lived to tell,, so far. I will never allow a law to dictate what was and still should be personal free choice. I choose to practice both sides on an almost-daily basis, just as I have done since 1974. Just because more people are reportedly saved by belts doesn't make it acceptable my friend burned alive because of one. There was no seatbelt law at the time, he just always wore one. A belt had saved him before. But not the 2nd time around. There is only luck and unluck.

I found the pics, attached. M-series 6x6 upside down. I do not want to be the one belted and crushed in that cab. I would rather take my chances for all possible outcomes.

CMPPhil above mentioned miltary veh studies. I do know of two, which mostly blame m939-series brakes, but a fatal rollover can happen with any tactical mil vehicle, pre-1990's. Exception, M151 hardtops. In the 1970's six of us were sent to flip an inverted jeep back onto its wheels by hand, and driven away. Occupants banged up some, but no damage to the top. Driver hit the brakes hard and swerved. Not a smart thing with a Mutt. Someone ran a stop light on him.

Here is one study: https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/gao/nsiad-99-082.htm

another here: https://www.gao.gov/assets/230/227104.pdf
 

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V8srfun

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my opinion is that the safety belt has saved far more lives than it has taken and it has also prevented far more injuries than it has caused. you do not have to use your imagination to know if i use one or not.
 

Elijah95

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The best part here is comparing apples to potatoes, ie. Civilian Trucks VS Milspec trucks.

Sure, the belt helps sometimes there’s no denying it. But more times then not, in an unarmored truck it tends to trap and kill when going over.


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doghead

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Tell you superior that when you get trained to operate said MV, see how that goes.

fwiw, when I was young, I thought I knew everything...
 

doghead

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I respect that you are entitled to an opinion. You are entitled to live and die by it.

Please do not hijack someone else’s thread to advocate for your opinion after every reply to the OP’s thread.

It’s just not what we want here(on SS).
 

Castle Bravo

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Like 98G said, there IS a true/false to this - Is there available data on unarmored medium/heavy fleet vehicle accidents available to us? Is it applicable data to us?

I can get in line with believing that roll over accidents in unarmored trucks results in trapped/killed occupants, but what is the rate of rollover vs non rollover accidents in said vehicles?
 

Ram1911

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Why then, did the military require seat belt use by the driver and co-driver?

Surely the military had as good of data as we do. And surely the military has the same goal - preservation of life and function of the driver and co-driver.

Given the same data and goals, the same conclusions should be reached.
Army has a consolidated database and sends out accident reports to all safety personnel from the unit safety rep up to the Director of Army Safety. I spent 6 weeks at Ft Rucker in 2014, and one of my classes was accident site survey and reconstruction. Almost all accidents can be prevented. One good way is to wear your seat belt. Kinda hard to control a truck from the passenger seat, if you know what I mean. Also, we did OSHA and fire safety, and for the first time in my 27 years in the Army I had to leave a classroom because the subject matter and presentation was...well, difficult. We watched a 15 minute video of the Whitesnake "Station Nightclub" fire in Providence, RI. At some point I had to depart because realizing you're watching people dying in a crush at the front door is too much.

Look, it's your life, but don't delude yourself with anecdotal evidence, even if, ESPECIALLY IF, it's your personal experience. That's literally ignoring a vast body of evidence and doubling down on stupid. Wear your seatbelt, or don't, but don't use excuses. The data is overwhelming.
 

Elijah95

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Like 98G said, there IS a true/false to this - Is there available data on unarmored medium/heavy fleet vehicle accidents available to us? Is it applicable data to us?

I can get in line with believing that roll over accidents in unarmored trucks results in trapped/killed occupants, but what is the rate of rollover vs non rollover accidents in said vehicles?
Agreed; it’s a highly controversial topic, and although every death is a tragedy reflecting this subject, we don’t have a large quantitive pool of data to go off of considering the production numbers and overall mileage logged of MVs in their original role and Former MVs driven by us versus the civilian truck production numbers in their roles and mileage logged.

That said, it’s safe to say we will never gather enough intel to truly be able to rule one way or another; as of right now, data shows seatbelt good for minor bumps and bruises, but otherwise not excellent at saving lives in a rollover in the MV world. Wear it, don’t wear it I don’t care not my problem. I’m just speaking from what I’ve seen, people I’ve spoken to first hand that survived accidents in MVs etc. I pray for all safe travel

And @doghead I appreciate the very informative reply and quite frankly I see an intellectual conversation going on here with differing civilized opinions and you’re welcome to contribute


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