Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

The Less-Than-Brilliant Defend NOT Wearing a Seat Belt

Someone dying in an ambulance crash is not good news, but a couple of people who seem to think that reality is whatever they want it to be has decided to use this death to justify spreading their belief that seatbelts kill. No matter how hard they believe this, they will still be safer wearing seat belts. Their belief does not change reality.

Troopers said Amsbaugh was partially ejected and was not wearing his seat belt.[1]

That is in the main article. The problem is in the comments.

But first, something that these magical thinkers are probably unaware of – facts.

Of the 25,351 passenger vehicle occupant fatalities in 2008, restraint use was unknown for 1,844 (7%). Of the 23,507 passenger vehicle occupant fatalities for which restraint use was known, 12,865 (55%) were unrestrained.[2]

55% of fatalities were not wearing seat belts.

In June 2005, safety belt use in the U.S. reached 82 percent, the highest level yet recorded and a statistically significant increase over the 80 percent use rate from a year prior. This result is from the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS), which provides the only probability-based observed data on safety belt use in the United States.[3]

Over 80% of vehicle occupants wear seat belts (82%).

Over half of vehicle occupants killed in crashes are not wearing seat belts (55% of the 93% of fatalities where we know if they were wearing seat belts + some portion of the unknown 7%).

For everyone who dies from the very large group of people wearing seat belts, at least one dies from the very small group of people not wearing seat belts.

If we do not wear seat belts, we are dramatically increasing our chances of dying in a motor vehicle crash.

Here are the less-than-brilliant comments –

well also gotta think of all the accidents were he may hve seen ppl dead cause they had a belt on!! second if he was in the back helping a pt, its kinda hard to help and be straped in!! third, why pin point it happened RIP BRO!! ps im in health care and i will NOT wear a seatbelt!!

. . . my father was thrown from a garbage truck and the police said if he would have wore his seatbelt he probably wouldnt be here. also we lost another member of the mount union fire department in an automobile accident and he wore his seatbelt and still passed away so before you go saying he should have buckled up you should realize this could have happened with or without a seatbelt. thank you.

She knows of a case, where she is sure that the seat belt killed the person. Due to her writing skills, we know that this case is well documented.

What about the other occupant of the ambulance?

From an article with more details –

Deborah Mease, 55, was driving the ambulance and suffered minor injuries, state police said. She apparently was wearing a seat belt; Amsbaugh was not.[4]

Dead vs. minor injuries.

Not ejected vs. partially ejected.

This is such a difficult choice.

I could be hit by anyone running a red light, or crossing the double yellow line, or . . . .

Do I want to be wearing a seat belt if I am in a crash?

Negatives of seat belt use – extremely small chance of becoming trapped in a vehicle that has a very small chance of catching fire. The chances of both happening together is ridiculous.

Positives of wearing a seat belt – less likely to be thrown around, or out of the vehicle and much less likely to be killed or injured.

Is this really such a difficult choice?

Would Ethan Amsbaugh be alive to day if he had worn a seat belt. We can’t be sure, but he probably would still be alive.

We respond to emergencies, but we are not immune to emergencies.


[1] Local EMT killed in crash
Posted: Jun 02, 2012 5:21 PM EDT
Updated: Jun 02, 2012 5:21 PM EDT
By Kyle Gamble
abc27 WHTM

[2] Traffic Safety Facts – 2008 Data
NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration)
Occupant Protection
Fact sheet

[3] Safety Belt Use in 2005 ─ Overall Results
Donna Glassbrenner, Ph.D.
Research note

The survey data is collected by sending trained observers to probabilistically sampled roadways, who observe vehicles between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Observations are made either while standing at the roadside or, in the case of expressways, while riding in a vehicle in traffic. Observers do not stop vehicles or interview occupants, so that the NOPUS captures the untainted behavior of motorists. The 2005 NOPUS data were collected between June 6 and June 25, while the 2004 data were collected between June 7 and July 11, 2004, excluding the period July 2 – 5.

[4] 22-year-old ambulance worker dies in crash
June 3, 2012
By Ryan Brown
The Altoona Mirror



  1. It’s also notable that the ambulance left the road for no apparent reason at 06:30. Sounds like the department has two issues to investigate, seatbelt usage and possible fatigue issues.

  2. Most people are stupid. These same people don’t think about the other people in the vehicle. By not wearing your seat belt, you are potentially putting other people in the vehicle at risk.

    Seat belts do not guarantee against accidents and deaths, but it helps deter injury caused by accidents and it also helps guarantee that your recklessness does not hurt others around you.

    Imagine a driver who refuses to wear a seat belt in a situation like a slippery road. While the car sways and swirls around, the unbuckled driver will most likely be flapping around in his/her seat, unable to maintain control of the wheel. Also, that same driver can put others at risk, but being knocked around inside the cab of the car while others are seated. A driver that is strapped on has a much better chance to regain control AND not injure other passengers.

  3. Would also like to point out that the person “thaddey” who says s/he works in Health Care remarked never wear a seat belt, I seriously question that person’s judgement coinciding her profession. That’s like a soldier saying “I am a soldier and I refuse to wear armour!” Surely, body armour won’t guarantee against bullets and explosions, but it helps deter them and allows your fellow squad mates the ease of mind that you’re not some foolish idiot. Being hit with shrapnel or a stray while NOT wearing armour is like telling your squad mates that you enjoy putting everyone at risk. What happens when you get hit with a piece of shrapnel, bleeding to death? Your squad mates will obviously have to go rescue your ass.

    So the same is for unbuckled people. You put so much more unnecessary strain and risk on yourself and others.

  4. I choose liberty!