Some aircraft have shoulder belts, but only in Business and First Class. Many passengers were injured in the crash of Asiana Flight 214 that clipped a seawall on landing, losing its landing gear and skidding into the runway. Two teens died, having been found outside of the plane and injuries include head trauma, neck injuries, and road rash. The 120 passengers who were able to walk away from the crash could probably thank their seatbelt, but the question remains, would fewer have been injured if there was a shoulder belt as well.
Dr. Carl Schulman, director of the William Lehman Injury Research Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said there have not been significant studies conducted on the effectiveness of a shoulder belt in a plane crash. Dr. David King, a trauma surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, says he finds it hard to believe the shoulder strap wouldn’t offer additional protection, but is it enough to outweigh the drawbacks, such as the additional time it would take a passenger to release the belt and evacuate the plane.
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