The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that occupant protection
provided by midsized cars during side impact collisions is getting better,
but passenger protection during rear-end collisions continues to be poor
or marginal. The Institute announced its findings after testing a number
of midsized cars, including the Chevrolet Malibu, the Nissan Altima, the
Dodge Avenger, the Kia Optima, the Infiniti G35, the Mitsubishi Gallant,
and the Saturn Aura.
All of the cars earned good ratings for solid passenger protection during frontal accidents. Except for the KIA Optima, they also earned high ratings for side crash protection. The presence of side air bags in all of the cars was one of the main reasons cited for the improved test results—compared to to midsized cars that were tested in 2004.
The only car to test well for rear crashworthiness was the Kia Optima, whose seat/head restraints received top ratings.
Rear-End Collision Safety
If a vehicle moves forward when struck during a rear end collision, its seats can push the occupants’ bodies forward. If a passenger’s head doesn’t have any support, it can fall behind as the torso moves forward and may cause neck injuries. Installing the proper head restraints allows the head and torso to move forward together and minimizes neck injuries, including whiplash.
Neck injuries are the most common injury that occurs during auto accidents. A neck injury can lead to whiplash, nerve damage, disc damage, torn ligaments, headaches, tingling sensation in the arms, and severe pain.
Rear-end collisions, like all other car accidents, can also lead to more catastrophic injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, a broken neck, burn injuries, spinal cord injuries, and wrongful death.
In 2004, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a new safety standard for head restraints, requiring them to be placed higher and closer to the head. The head restraints must also be adjustable.
If you or someone you love was seriously injured in a car accident because the automobile lacked the proper safety measures or the head restraint, a front or side airbag, or another device or auto part was defective, contact our auto products liability law firm right away to discuss your case. You may be entitled to personal injury compensation.
New crash tests of midsize cars: protection in side impacts improves, but most cars tested still afford marginal or poor protection in rear crashes, IIHS.org, April 10, 2008
NHTSA Announces Upgraded Rule for Head Restraints in Vehicles, NHTSA, December 7, 2004
Related Web Resources:
New Crash Tests of Midsize Cars, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (PDF)
Whiplash Neck Injuries, Head Rests, Head Restraints
The products liability law firm of Gilbert & Ollanik PC represents individuals and their families that have filed defective products claims and lawsuits against some of the biggest car manufacturers in the world.