Since 2003, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has been evaluating vehicles to determine how well they protect passengers involved in side-impact collisions. An experienced T-Bone accident lawyer knows IIHS crash tests are a good predictor of whether a car will prevent injuries or fatalities when a vehicle is hit from the side.
Some side-impact accidents are so serious, and the intrusion so great, that there is nothing to prevent serious injuries or death. In a typical accident, however, the car you are in can mean the difference between permanent impairment and walking away with minimal injury.
Drivers who cause car accidents will be responsible for compensating you for losses regardless of whether you choose to buy a car with advanced safety features, but it is important for your own health and well-being to choose a car with the best crash test ratings you can find if you are serious about road safety.
T-Bone Accident Risks Can be Reduced By Cars With Good Safety Features
IIHS mimics T-Bone or side-impact collisions by using a barrier designed to simulate a pickup truck or an SUV. The barrier hits the car on the side as though it is causing a broadside collision. An assessment is completed to determine injury ratings for injuries most likely to occur in a side-impact collision, including injury to the head or neck; to the torso; and to the legs and pelvis.
Vehicles are rated based on how well they are able to prevent the striking car from intruding into the compartment where occupants sit. Vehicles are also rated based on whether occupants' heads were protected by safety features installed in the vehicle.
IISH gives cars a rating of good, acceptable, marginal, or poor depending upon how well side airbags and other protective features worked to prevent serious injury. Only vehicles including head and torso protection and driver side air bags are included in IIHS crash tests.
IIHS also assesses driver fatalities after accounting for driver and vehicle factors. IIHS crash test dummies used to determine driver death include not just standard sized men, but also crash test dummies intended to represent women and children. The crash tests can be a fairly accurate predictor of the likelihood that a car crash will have permanent or fatal consequences.
In vehicles IIHS rated as good, drivers are 70 percent less likely to be killed in a left-side crash than drivers in vehicles rated as poor. In vehicles rated "acceptable," drivers have a 64 percent lower death risk compared with drivers in vehicles rated poor. Results are statistically significant and demonstrate the impact of vehicle design and safety features. The factor making the biggest difference in whether a driver might be killed in a T-bone accident is vehicle structure.
IIHS reports that side-impact crashes caused 27 percent of all deaths of vehicle occupants in 2009 collisions. As automakers receive IIHS crash testing ratings, many move forward to improve safety features if their cars did not perform well. This means death tolls could go down as more car manufacturers try to implement features to prevent deaths in T-Bone accidents.