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I-81 crash and ejection causes major injuries

Whether it is officials from the federal department of transportation, the Pennsylvania State Police or the Chambersburg police, one of the most frequently iterated safety tips is that all occupants of any vehicle should always used the seat belts provided.

Seat belts are old technology and not especially sexy or stylish. They do not use fancy electronics, sensors or LEDs. Even when in use, they typically do nothing.

But in the millisecond when your car is suddenly stopped in a crash, or begins to roll violently as it careens violently down an hill or embankment, the tensioners in the seatbelt lock and prevent your being thrown against the dash or out a window.

A woman survived that terrible experience last month when the car she was riding in lost control and rolled over on I-81 near Greencastle.

The scenario seems commonplace. The driver apparently drifted over to the rumble strip on the interstate, which is designed to wake a driver who has fallen asleep at the wheel, although it is unclear if the driver in this car had dozed off.

 The sound must have startled him, and he overcorrected, which caused the car to cross the median, which was steeply banked. This flipped the car and ejected a woman who was riding in the back seat.

She suffered "major injuries," which were not described, but it doesn't take much to imagine the types of injuries you could sustain after being thrown from a moving car at highway speeds.

From road rash and abrasions to broken bones, organ damage and traumatic brain injuries are all possible after such an accident. Such injuries can leave a lifelong mark, from chronic joint pain to the need for round the clock care in the case of traumatic brain or spinal injuries.

It is not clear if she was wearing seatbelts, but it is rare that seatbelts fail and allow a passenger to be ejected.

Source: publicopiniononline.com, "Woman and child flown from scene of accident Saturday on I-81 in Antrim Township," Amber South, April 4, 2015

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