Vehicle Design and Safety Can Reduce Fatal Car Accidents

It is very important to note that, when it comes to vehicle safety, one must be aware of the safety of their vehicle and any recall notices that come up as well. In 2012, there were an astounding number of motor vehicle fatalities (34,000, to be exact). If safety features in cars and road safety laws continue to be more enforced, we may see a decline in these fatalities.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) identified that the most effective protection from vehicle fatalities and injury in an accident, was seatbelts. Furthermore, an insanely high percentage of 50% of all fatalities from vehicle accidents in 2012 involved passengers or drivers who were not wearing their seatbelts. Airbags used in addition to seatbelts can help save lives by preventing drivers and passengers from coming into contact with their dashboard along with increase the safety of the rear seat passengers.

Some other effective protections identified were:

  • Head restraints to prevent severe whiplash and other neck injuries
  • Anti-lock break systems and traction control features help drivers with stability and control in a situation with sudden stops or severe weather conditions
  • The weight of the car, research indicating the heavier vehicles may have fewer fatalities than lightweight vehicles.

In some cases, a vehicle manufacturer could be deemed negligent and held liable for injuries sustained after somebody gets into a car accident. A person is permitted to make a strict liability claim against a manufacturer regardless of what steps they say that it took to design, assemble, or handle the motor vehicle. However, these conditions need to exist in that case:

  • The vehicle contained a component that had an “unreasonably dangerous” defect based on the manufacture, design of the vehicle, during handling or shipment, or through a failure to warn the consumer of the said dangerous defect
  • The defect caused the driver an injury because the vehicle was being used in a way that it was intended to be used
  • The vehicle had not been altered from the condition in which it was originally sold, making it more dangerous

The NHTSA has the upper authority to issue vehicle safety standards and requires manufacturers to recall the vehicles with safety-related defects that do not meet these standards. Popular examples of defects can include steering components that break suddenly, accelerator controls that break or stick, wheels that crack or break, windshield wipers that malfunction, wiring system problems that can cause a fire, or air bags that deploy under conditions in which they are not meant to deploy. If a recall is issued because of an NHTSA investigation, the manufacturer must notify all registered owners and purchasers via first-class mail with the existence of the problem and evaluation of the risks involved. The final step is to offer the vehicle owners either repair, replacement, or refund.

Recalls are a very important thing to notify vehicle owners of when the issues become apparent. Keeping a defected vehicle off the road until the issue is fixed could prevent many accidents involving motor vehicles and lower the chances of injury or even in severe cases, fatality, from occurring.