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State police: 'Statistically, you're safer with a seat belt in any vehicle crash'

August 09, 2013|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com

One woman died and another motorist was injured when they were thrown from vehicles during two separate accidents that occurred within 24 hours of each other this week on Interstate 70.

Susie Burleson, a registered nurse and trauma manager at Meritus Medical Center near Hagerstown, said Friday that it was rare to see two ejections in the period of a day, but the accidents should serve as a vivid reminder for people to wear their seat belts.

“We tend to see more serious injuries with ejections than those who wear their seat belts,” Burleson said. “If you wear your seat belt, you tend to be stationary and not get ejected from the vehicle.”

Brenda Dailey Adams, 50, of Cumberland, Md., was pronounced dead at the scene after she was thrown through the rear window of a sport-utility vehicle that crashed Thursday on I-70 east of Clear Spring.

Adams was not wearing a seat belt, according to Maryland State Police.

On Friday morning, Warren Carryl, 32, of Hagerstown was ejected when his car struck an overturned pickup truck during a three-vehicle accident on I-70 near the Sharpsburg Pike exit, state police said.

In his 27 years with state police, 1st Sgt. Kevin Lewis said he has seen a number of accidents that involved people being ejected from vehicles. He said he had no doubt that the trauma in those cases would have been less severe if the victims had been wearing their seat belts.

“Statistically, you’re safer with a seat belt in any vehicle crash,” Lewis said. “A lot of lives have been lost because seat belts weren’t used. When you look at the big picture, you’re much better off with a seat belt on.”

He said a number of people make the mistake of not wearing a seat belt because their vehicle has airbags.

“Airbags are supposed to work in conjunction with seat belts,” Lewis said.

Meritus Medical Center also asserts the importance of child seats.

The hospital offers the Car Seat Installation Assistance program, which teaches people how to install child seats in vehicles, Burleson said.

“We try to increase awareness for seat-belt usage and car-seat usage for children to help decrease the amount of patients that come in from motor vehicle accidents,” she said.

The use of seat belts is required by state law.

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