Side-Impact Car Crashes (a.k.a. T-Bone): A Blind-Spot for Modern Safety Features?

Side-Impact Car Crashes (a.k.a. T-Bone): A Blind-Spot for Modern Safety Features?

Nearly every major car manufacturer has at one point in its advertising history highlighted the safety features on one or more of its models. Regardless of whether it is a commercial advocating the installation of more airbags, better seatbelt technology, advance warning systems, crumple zones, or frame improvements, what many of these commercials fail to explain is that most of these passenger protection systems are intended to prevent injury from head-on collisions.  While side-impact collisions do not make up the majority of all car accidents, the technology to mitigate the potential for serious injury in these situations is remarkably lacking.

Unique nature of side-impact car accidents

One of the reasons that automobile manufacturers do not mention side-impact collision safety is that they are well within the industry standard when they focus primarily on head-on or rear-end collisions.  The federal agency responsible for overseeing automobile safety, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), primarily focuses its crash tests on the damage done by head-on collisions.  The NHTSA tests automobiles for side-impact collisions, but much of the data shows that modern cars do not offer much protection for these.  This may be due to the increased desire for lighter, more fuel efficient models, but also has been linked to the increase in SUVs on today’s roads.  A standard SUV provides little more than a door as protection against collisions for backseat passengers, whereas there are numerous safety features that are designed to protect all passengers in front or rear-end collisions – i.e. crumple zones, and frame improvements.

Further, side-impact car accidents are not the most common type of car accident and therefore, the focus of car safety experts has been consistently elsewhere.  What many do not realize, however, is that the true danger of side-impact collisions is what is usually sitting in the back seat – children.  It was found recently that children were more likely to be severely injured by side-impact collisions, and a high percentage of car accident injuries suffered by children were head injuries.

Proving fault in side-impact accidents

Another unique complication with side-impact collisions is that it is not always easy to place fault on one driver over another.  T-bone accidents often occur when two cars meet in an intersection, and victims are left trying to heal while also recreating events that can happen in the blink of an eye.  Further, as most drivers are focused solely on their own driving (i.e. color of their light, their speed, etc.), they are unable to help officers or investigators understand how the accident occurred.  Being able to discover whether one driver was at fault, or assigning fault to both drivers is key to recovering the amount of damages a victim of a T-bone accident should receive.

Robert T. Edens | Lake County Personal Injury Attorney

If you or someone you love has been injured in a side-impact (or T-bone) collision, contact the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C today and speak to one of our Lake County professionals about your situation.  Our lawyers have extensive experience with all types of car accidents.  We can answer your questions, provide guidance, or represent you if necessary to ensure that you recover what you need to begin to put your life back together.



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(847) 395-2200