Seat Belts Protect Pregnant Drivers During Collisions

Belts reduce abdominal pressure, prevent steering wheel contact in collisions
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) -- Wearing a seat belt protects pregnant drivers by reducing the risk of abdominal pressure or contact with the steering wheel during frontal and rear collisions, according to a study published in the July issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Yasuki Motozawa, of the Dokkyo Medical University School of Medicine in Japan, and colleagues conducted frontal and rear impact tests with a dummy that represented the anthropometry of a pregnant woman.

In frontal impact tests performed without the dummy wearing a seat belt, the researchers found that abdominal pressure peaked where the dummy contacted the steering wheel. In rear impact tests performed without the dummy wearing a seat belt, they found that the forward movement of the dummy generated by rebound led to contact with the steering wheel. However, this was avoided when the dummy was wearing a seat belt.

"The current findings confirmed that seat belts protect pregnant drivers during various types of accidents, and, thus, seat belt use should be encouraged among this population," the authors conclude.

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