According to a groundbreaking new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and based on national traffic accident statistics, an unrestrained passenger inside a car can leave other passengers in grave danger, even if they take proper precautions and wear seat belts. In an accident, an unrestrained person becomes a deadly projectile. In a crash test performed as part of the study, a child-sized test dummy in the rear catapults forward, crashing into the dummy in the front as they both hit the windshield. The study also confirmed that, if you are in a car crash, your chance of dying increases by as much as 25 percent when another person in the same car is not strapped in. But even when a driver and passengers are buckled in, any items that are not buckled down in the car could become airborne and kill you in the event of an accident.
As part of the study, a crash-test video shows a green cooler crushing the rear passenger and then continuing forward to slam into the driver, while a suitcase severs the arm of another passenger. Even an unrestrained pet can shatter a windshield, the video shows. In fact, everything from luggage to soda pop cans that were not tied down were responsible for more than 13,000 injuries in accidents nationwide in just one year.
Insurance industry statistics confirm that most serious crashes involve impact speeds of less than 35 mph. Fatalities involving non-belted occupants of cars have been recorded at as low as 12 mph – about the speed you would be driving in a parking lot.
You are four times more likely to be killed or seriously injured if you are thrown from a car. The forces in a collision can be great enough to eject you as far as 150 feet – about 15 car lengths. A lap belt greatly reduces your chances of being seriously injured. The addition of a shoulder belt provides even more protection. During a crash, the shoulder belt keeps your head and chest from striking the steering wheel, dashboard or windshield.
If a loved one, friend, neighbor, colleague or client has been injured or killed as a result of a motor vehicle accident, please contact us to find out how we can help.
Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath 561-655-1990