Seat belts in Texas continue to save lives, but they can also cause damage during an auto accident. The injuries can cause blunt force trauma not always visible on the surface.
The abdomen, neck and chest are where most seat belt injuries occur.
Dissipation of energy
A National Institute of Health article states that fatalities reduced by close to half because of seat belt use. Unfortunately, energy dissipated from the force of a collision transfers to the connection points of the seat belt, potentially causing other trauma.
A standard three-point harness seat belt goes across the shoulder, chest and abdomen. The bones beneath such as the pelvis and clavicle should take the brunt of the force, but that does not mean other damage cannot happen. Beneath the surface, organ damage, lumbar spinal fractures, bruising and bowel injuries are possible.
Seat belt syndrome
The World Journal of Surgery and Surgical Research states that while often trivial, some seat belt injuries cause fatalities. Seat belt syndrome refers to a collection of injuries that include musculoskeletal injuries, superficial skin bruises and visceral injuries. Not all of these injuries come with a seat belt sign, the name for anterior skin injuries.
Overt seat belt syndrome refers to those injuries that come with a seat belt sign indicating internal injuries. These overt injuries increase the likelihood of additional injuries to the abdomen and chest by significant margins.
Covert seat belt syndrome indicates internal injuries without the external seat belt sign. Considered incomplete seat belt syndrome, those with two of the injuries listed above are more severe than those consisting of only one.