Determining a Vehicle’s Crashworthiness

vehicle crash test

When you hear the term “crashworthiness,” what is the first thing that comes to mind? If you said something along the lines of whether or not a car is worthy enough to get in a car accident, good try but that’s not quite it. If you’ve ever seen a car commercial or visited a dealership, you’ve likely heard someone attest to a vehicle’s crashworthiness, but what is it exactly and how does it benefit you as a car owner?

What is Crashworthiness?

While you may be tempted to compare “crashworthiness” to its distant cousin “creditworthiness” which is the evaluation of one’s credit history to determine payment reliability, it’s slightly different. Crashworthiness is the level of safety provided for vehicle occupants to prevent severe injury or death in the event of a car accident.

Car manufacturers work tirelessly to implement the latest technology in their vehicles to improve the crashworthiness of the cars they put on the road. The equipment, design, and safety countermeasures are tediously evaluated and altered all in the effort to produce a safer vehicle. Here are some of the critical factors that go into determining a vehicle’s crashworthiness:

Seatbelts and Airbags

Seatbelts are one of the most prominent safety features in a car. Designed to restrain vehicle occupants in the event of an accident, seatbelts are included in all modern passenger vehicles. Decades ago they used to be mounted to the door and only come across the shoulder in some cars while in other vehicles they only went across the lap. These designs were deemed ineffective due to their ability to properly restrain and vehicle occupants from injuries.

Airbags are also a staple safety feature in modern vehicles. After their introduction in 1973 in government vehicles, General Motors put the feature in the Oldsmobile Toronado. Since then, airbags have been implemented and continuously redeveloped to ensure the safety of all passengers.

Preventing Rollovers

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) discovered that rollover accidents have the highest fatality rate compared to any other accident. The vehicles most likely to rollover are those that sit high and are more narrow like SUV’s, vans, and pick-up trucks.

These vehicles naturally have a higher center of gravity, so manufacturers that can lower their center of gravity can effectively increase their crashworthiness.

Front and Rear Seating Safety

The safety of both those in the front and rear of a vehicle are highly scrutinized factors when determining a vehicle’s crashworthiness. While the appropriate measures have been taken in recent years to advance the technology behind protecting the driver and front seat passenger, the NHTSA has discovered that the attention has not been extended to back seat passengers.

Strides have been taken to better protect rear passengers, but vehicles that continue to provide inefficient restraint measures for backseat passengers will have naturally lower safety ratings.

Child Safety

Child safety is another significant determinant of a vehicle’s crashworthiness. Studies show that the primary cause of death for children aged four and up is vehicle collisions. In an effort to change that, a laser focus has been put on child safety in vehicles with the main point of scrutiny being child restraint. To this day, manufacturers continue to come up with innovative ways to help protect some of our most valued passengers.

When a Design Defect Causes Personal Injury

There is no predictor for when a car accident will happen, but being that it is always a possibility, vehicle manufacturers have the duty to protect those whom they’re selling their products to. However, when a safety feature like a seatbelt or airbag defects at the exact moment it is designed to protect, severe injuries and even death can come as a result. In such instances, the injured party or grieving loved ones have the right to pursue compensation from the responsible party in the form of a product liability lawsuit.

The Orlando product liability lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm are seasoned personal injury attorneys with over 100 years of combined experience. We’ve helped many people just like you recover compensation for all accident-related damages resulting from a third party’s negligence and can do the same for you. Contact us today at 407-228-3838 for a free case evaluation.