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June 12, 1972

Prevention of Injury in The Automobile Accident

Author Affiliations

Wood Ridge, NJ

JAMA. 1972;220(11):1499-1500. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03200110077030

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To the Editor.—  The vast majority of accidents cause injury to the occupant of a fast-moving vehicle as a result of a single mechanism, failure of the occupant to decelerate synchronously with the rest of the vehicle. Seat belts and shoulder harnesses are obvious answers to this problem. Unfortunately, most passengers just don't use seat belts and probably never will. It has been estimated that only 15% of drivers regularly use seat and shoulder belts. Thirty percent are judged to use them sporadically. Obviously, mechanical restraints, although theoretically the most efficient devices in preventing injuries have, in practice, proved less than adequate.Another solution, however unconventional, appears promising enough to deserve field trials. It may appear quite absurd at first glance, but it is also marvelously simple. It consists of reversing the direction the passengers face in the moving vehicle. Cars should be so designed that all passengers (including the