California Highway Patrol officials said that a Ford Bronco overturned on the southbound 55 just north of Dyer Road and ejected a 22-year-old woman through the window early Sunday morning.

A three point seat belt in a Lincoln Town Car.
A three point seat belt in a Lincoln Town Car. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sgt. Chris Berry of the California Highway Patrol said that they received reports of the accident at 5:31 a.m.

“It looks like it could have been a possible tread separation,” Berry said. “The driver of the Bronco, a 69-year-old man from Riverside, swerved to the right and the truck overturned several times.”

Police officials later identified the deceased woman as Yoeen Sauseda, of Riverside.

According to the initial investigation, she was seated behind the driver in the backseat. She did not appear to be wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash and when the vehicle rolled over, she was thrown through the window onto the road. She hit the concrete retaining wall on the side of the freeway and was later taken to Western Medical Center Santa Ana, Berry said.

She was pronounced dead by examiners at the hospital.

The other three occupants of the vehicle – Erasmo Molina, Armando Angeles, 27, and Vanesa Sauseda, 18, all of Riverside – were severely injured in the crash and were taken to UCI Medical Center. Reports from the California Highway Patrol suggested that these three were wearing seatbelts at the time of this crash.

It is still unknown what caused the crash and officials are investigating.

It is compulsory for all occupants of motor vehicles in the United States to wear a seat belt, or safety belt. According to several studies, wearing a seat belt significantly reduces the wearer’s chance of severe injury or death in a traffic collision by preventing them from hitting against the interior of the car and keeping them positioned for the maximum positive effect of the airbag.

The first modern three-point seat belt was invented in 1955 for the Swedish car-manufacturer Volvo by Roger W. Griswold and Hugh DeHaven.

The inventors conducted a series of studies to test the effectiveness of seat belts in 28,000 traffic accidents. The results clearly showed that not a single one of the belted occupants in their test sustained fatal injuries at speeds below 60 M.P.H. Unbelted passengers and drivers in these vehicles suffered fatalities regardless of the speed of the crash.

The United States later adopted mandatory seat belt laws in all 50 states because of these initial tests. In one study, data showed that 40% more people escaped injury when wearing their seat belt and 35% more escaped minor and moderate injuries in a crash. Another study done in the United States showed that the odds ratio of crash death is 0.46 with a three-point belt.

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