IT IS estimated that 5,000 lives are saved each year by safety belts. Garrett and Braunstein1 calculated that there were 35% fewer major, fatal injuries in seat belt wearers than in those who did not wear seat belts. Lindgren and Warg,2 in Sweden, studied injuries in people wearing diagonal-type belts and they concluded that this type of belt reduced by 60% the number of major injuries that would have occurred without the use of belts.
However, there have been an increasing number of reports of injury apparently caused by the seat belt itself.
Report of Cases
Case 1.—A 42-year-old white man was involved in an automobile accident on July 31, 1964. He was wearing a lap-type seat belt. He was initially unconscious.Past medical history was essentially unremarkable, except that the patient had had an appendectomy.Physical examination revealed a well-developed, slightly obese, adult white male, in severe