Fatal rollover crash a sad reminder about seatbelt safety

ST. LOUIS – The details of Thursday’s deadly rollover crash at the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge provides a tragic reminder of the importance of seat belt safety.

A new survey by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety finds not wearing seat belts in the backseat of a vehicle can be just as dangerous. Rear passengers can become human missiles in a crash, injuring themselves and people in the front seat.

The research found 91 percent of adults said they always wore their seatbelt in the front seat, but only 72 percent were just as diligent in buckling up in the backseat. the study shows many adults falsely assume that the backseat is safer and not buckle themselves or their children for short trips.

"We do realize that everybody is in a rush, everyone is in a hurry. Sometimes if we're only going a couple of blocks to reach our destination we may feel that it's an inconvenience or maybe too time consuming to strap that child in that car seat, but it's instrumental to your safety and your child`s safety," said Illinois State Police Lieutenant Derek Wise. "It's very important that you have them properly strapped in a car seat."

In addition, law enforcement officials recommend against buying used child car seats because you don’t know the product’s history and whether it has been in a crash or has been the subject of a recall.

"We need to understand how absolutely essential  it is to especially strap our kids in using those car seats that are appropriately sized for the age," said SSM Health DePaul Hospital Emergency Physician Dr. Magdalena Bokeij.

Dr. Bokeij said she treats too many trauma patients who weren't wearing seat belts.

"Brain bleeds, spine fractures that will leave you paralyzed for the rest of your life," she said. "We see injuries to the main vessels to the body, like the aorta injuries, to the heart injuries, to the lungs, that are often times not survivable."