An experienced T-Bone accident lawyer knows drivers and passengers could be seriously hurt or killed if a vehicle is hit from the side. People on the near-side of the vehicle have a greater risk of death or permanent injury. But people on the far side from point of impact have more limited safety features designed to protect them.
T-Bone accidents are among the most common types of car accidents. While prevention of fatalities and permanent impairments in people on the struck side of the car is essential to saving lives, those on the opposite side should also be protected as much as possible from suffering harm.
Preventing T-Bone Injury Accidents in Far-Side Passengers
When one car strikes another and the two cars form a “T,” those sitting on the side of the car that was hit make up 76 percent of T-Bone accident deaths and 57 percent of serious injuries. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 214 has been in place since 1997 to try to provide as much protection as possible for individuals on the near-side of impact.
Those sitting on the far side of the vehicle make up 43 percent of serious injuries and 24 percent of fatalities. Association for Advancement of Automotive Medicine warns there is no safety standard in place to ensure they have even minimum protection.
Each year, 17,000 people suffer serious injuries or deaths while on the far side of a vehicle involved in a rollover or side impact crash. Research from Virginia Tech warns people have a close-to-equal probability of being on the far side of a vehicle as they do on the near-side of a vehicle when the car is hit from the side.
The head and chest area are most likely to be impacted for people on the far side of a vehicle when the car is involved in a T-Bone accident. Of those who were injured while on the car’s far side, 21 percent suffered head injuries and 33 percent suffered chest injuries.
The majority of injuries to the head and chest occurred when the people sitting on the far side of the car came into contact with the car’s interior on the side struck by the other vehicle in the T-Bone accident. Protecting motorists on the far side of the car from impact could prevent injuries and save lives.
Different safety measures should be considered to determine what is most effective in preventing deaths and injuries. Side support airbags are one option. Changing seat belt design is also a possibility. A four-point V-shaped seat belt with belts across both shoulders; a reversed geometry shoulder belt; or a seat belt with pre-tensioning could all keep far-side passengers safer.
Car manufacturers should consider including additional safety features to protect passengers in T-bone crashes. Federal regulators may also wish to move forward with passing new safety requirements for passengers on the far side of a broadsided motor vehicle.