Motor Vehicle Accident Study Proves Spinal Injuries Reduced by Air Bags and Seat Belts

An article and editorial published in the Journal of Neurosurgery examined the nexus between air bag and seat belt usage and spinal injuries suffered by car accident and truck accident victims.  This research examined the records of more than 20,000 motor vehicle accident victims age 16 and older admitted to Wisconsin hospitals after car or truck wrecks from 1994 to 2002. This research confirmed that the use of a seat belt and an air bag together was associated with a decreased risk of spine fracture, including more severe fractures.

In 2007, there were over 6 million motor vehicle accidents in the United States.  Nearly 2.5 million of those accident victims were injured and more than 41,000 lost their lives.  According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), 1,110 people lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents in 2007 in Alabama.  This was down 8% from 2006 where 1,207 people lost their lives in car and truck accidents in Alabama.

In 2007 Jefferson County, Alabama, which includes Birmingham, saw 98 people killed in car and truck accidents.  This was a 23% increase in the number of fatal accidents in the Birmingham, Jefferson County area from the previous year.  This is in stark contrast toMadison County, Alabama which includes Huntsville.  In 2007, 34 people in the Huntsville area lost their lives in a car or truck accident.   This was a 55% decrease from 2006 which saw 75 people in the Huntsville area lose their lives in motor vehicle accidents.  This large decrease in the number of fatal car and truck wrecks in the Huntsville area can likely be attributed in part to the combination of seat belt and air bag useage.