Many people choose SUVs because they are supposed to be safe cars. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case — at least for passengers in the front seat of these vehicles. CNBC reported recently that crash tests involving many small SUVs had revealed problems with safety features affecting the front passenger seat. The crash tests were conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on seven small SUVs that had generally received good crash test ratings. The results were troubling.
When accidents happen, safety features can and should help to prevent fatalities and serious injuries among car passengers. If there was a malfunction with a vehicle or the car safety features failed to work due to a defect, victims could pursue a case for compensation based on product liability law. Victims can also pursue a case against a driver who caused their accident. A Janesville car accident injury attorney like Steve Caya can help those hurt in a car crash to understand which options are best for recovering compensation.
SMALL SUVS NOT PROTECTING PASSENGERS
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) chose SUVs for crash tests which had received good marks when the cars hit a barrier on the front driver’s side corner of the vehicle at 40 miles per hour. These SUVs were put into a crash situation where it was the front passenger side of the car that hit a barrier, rather than the front driver’s side.
The results showed that the safety features on the passenger side accident did not work as well as they did when the crash happened on the driver’s side. Just one of the seven models of small SUVs got good ratings when the passenger side hit a barrier, compared with all seven for accidents on the driver’s side. This was the Hyundai Tucson. One model, the Toyota Rav 4, actually was rated as poor for passenger side accidents. Three vehicles received “acceptable” ratings for passenger side accidents and two received marginal ratings.
A research engineer at IIHS indicated that the front passenger area is: “an important aspect of occupant protection that needs more attention.” Over the course of 2014, more than 1,600 people who died in auto accidents were passengers in front seats of vehicles at the time of the fatal accident. Front seat passengers accounted for around 13 percent of all of the people who died in car accidents over the course of the year.
Unfortunately, despite the risks to passengers, car makers have tended to focus their attention on the driver’s side of the vehicle frame and the structure on the driver’s side. This focus may have been driven by the 2012 introduction of front overlap crash tests focusing on what happened when the driver’s corner of a vehicle hit a pole or struck another car.
Automakers need to focus on the safety of all passengers, not just drivers. All passengers also have legal options to pursue a case for compensation if negligence or vehicle defects causes or contributes to their injuries. When a crash happens, victims need to understand their rights. Attorney Steve Caya can provide help to those who have been harmed.