When buying a vehicle, doing research into safety features is important to protect yourself and your children. An experienced T-Bone accident lawyer knows it can be hard to find a car with good safety features to protect you from side impact accidents. Not all cars come equipped with side airbags, and there are no clear guidelines for what is required of side airbags when they are installed.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulations do not mandate installation of side airbags and do not impose strict safety requirements or performance criteria on side airbags. This is very different than front airbags, which are subject to comprehensive regulations and are mandated. NHTSA should take action to better protect people from broadside car accidents by imposing more comprehensive rules associated with side airbag design and installation.
VEHICLE SIDE AIRBAGS CAN SAVE LIVES IN T-BONE COLLISIONS
A T-Bone accident occurs when your car is hit in the side by another car, usually at an intersection. When this happens, there is nothing to cushion you from the blow if you do not have side airbags installed in your vehicle.
A car’s door panel is very thin and provides essentially no protection. Serious head injuries are likely; 60 percent of people killed in side-impact accidents suffered traumatic brain injury. Torso, shoulder, chest, and neck injuries are also very common in side impact accidents, as is death. In 2009, 27 percent of all fatal collisions in the U.S. were side impact accidents, according toInsurance Institute for Highway Safety.
SaferCar.gov reports between 700 and 1,000 people could be saved from auto accident death if side airbags were a required and regulated feature installed in every vehicle. Although hundreds or thousands fewer would die, NHTSA has not taken action to mandate widespread use of side airbags and NHTSA does little to ensure voluntarily-installed airbags actually work.
There are standards surrounding the use of side airbags but the standards were created by Technical Working Group, which is a private group of auto safety experts. Not all car manufacturers and side airbag manufacturers are in compliance with TWG standards. On Safer Car, vehicles with side airbags meeting TWG standards are denoted with an “M.” Your vehicle owner’s manual will also provide information on whether the side airbags in your vehicle have met safety standards.
Without requirements for side airbags, some may not work as well as they should. Side airbags are generally aimed at suppressing force, cushioning the blow, and preventing the head and torso from hitting something or from being hit. Some airbags are designed to come out of door panels to protect drivers and passenger,s while others come down from a car’s roof. Some side airbags provide protections for both front and back seat passengers, so be sure to determine what equipped has been installed in your vehicle.