A 24-year-old Corporal assigned to Fort Bliss, Texas, died in a PMV-4 mishap 11 September 2022 in Big Spring, Texas, at 1400 local. The Soldier was on leave, traveling with her family, when their vehicle overturned. She died at the scene. The Soldier’s husband, who was driving the vehicle and is also a Soldier, and child were transported to a higher-level medical center for further care and evaluation. They are both listed in critical condition. It is suspected that the fatally injured Soldier was in the back seat with the child and not wearing her seat belt. The specific circumstances surrounding the mishap are under investigation by local law enforcement.
Since 2017, the Army has lost an average of 35 Soldiers a year to PMV-4 mishaps. This mishap was the 31st PMV-4 fatality of FY22 and below the number of fatalities for the same time period last year.
One of the safest choices drivers and passengers can make is to buckle up. Many Americans understand the lifesaving value of the seat belt – the national use rate was at 90.4% in 2021. Seat belt use in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 14,955 lives in 2017. Understand the potentially fatal consequences of not wearing a seat belt and learn what you can do to make sure you and your family are properly buckled up every time.
Of the 23,824 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2020, 51% were not wearing seat belts — a 4% increase from 2019.
The consequences of not wearing, or improperly wearing, a seat belt are clear:
1. Buckling up helps keep you safe and secure inside your vehicle, whereas not buckling up can result in being totally ejected from the vehicle in a crash, which is almost always deadly.
2. Air bags are not enough to protect you; in fact, the force of an air bag can seriously injure or even kill you if you’re not buckled up.
3. Improperly wearing a seat belt, such as putting the strap below your arm, puts you and your children at risk in a crash.
The benefits of buckling up are equally clear:
If you buckle up in the front seat of a passenger car, you can reduce your risk of:
-Fatal injury by 45% (Kahane, 2015)
-Moderate to critical injury by 50%
If you buckle up in a light truck, you can reduce your risk of:
-Fatal injury by 60% (Kahane, 2015)
-Moderate to critical injury by 65% (NHTSA, 1984)
The Top 4 Things You Should Know About Buckling Up
58% OF THOSE KILLED DURING THE NIGHTTIME IN 2020 WERE UNRESTRAINED
1. Buckling up is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash
Seat belts are the best defense against impaired, aggressive, and distracted drivers. Being buckled up during a crash helps keep you safe and secure inside your vehicle; being completely ejected from a vehicle is almost always deadly.
2. Air bags are designed to work with seat belts, not replace them
If you don’t wear your seat belt, you could be thrown into a rapidly opening frontal air bag. Such force could injure or even kill you. Learn about air bag safety.
3. Guidelines to buckle up safely
-The lap belt and shoulder belt are secured across the pelvis and rib cage, which are better able to withstand crash forces than other parts of your body.
-Place the shoulder belt across the middle of your chest and away from your neck.
-The lap belt rests across your hips, not your stomach.
-NEVER put the shoulder belt behind your back or under an arm.
4. Fit matters
-Before you buy a new car, check to see that its seat belts are a good fit for you.
-Ask your dealer about seat belt adjusters, which can help you get the best fit.
-If you need a roomier belt, contact your vehicle manufacturer to obtain seat belt extenders.
-If you drive an older or classic car with lap belts only, check with your vehicle manufacturer about how to retrofit your car with today’s safer lap/shoulder belts.