In 2009, 27 percent of people in the United States killed in automobile accidents lost their lives in side impact collisions. Side impact collisions are often called “T-Bone,” accidents. One vehicle strikes another from a perpendicular angle, with the two cars forming a T. Intersections are a common location for side impact crashes because a car can hit the side of another when it goes through a red light or stop sign, or turns without looking to make sure the road is clear.
While drivers should try to prevent these accidents, sometimes you can’t help if your vehicle is hit from the side. Unless your car has safety protection systems in place to cushion the blow, you are likely to face serious harm in a T-Bone accident. The striking car usually is going fast, and the standard side panel of a typical vehicle provides virtually no shield from impact.
An experienced T-Bone accident lawyer knows safety features can make a big difference in how a side impact crash will affect you. When shopping for a vehicle, consider looking for one with a good rating from Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
IIHS Ratings Can Help Predict Injury Risks in T-Bone Accidents
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates vehicles as good, acceptable, marginal, or poor based on how cars perform in crash tests. Cars are tested for different safety features in a variety of collision types, including head-on and T-Bone accidents. IIHS has been testing vehicles to determine how they perform in side-impact collisions since 2003.
Cars are tested with a dummy inside designed to represent a man, woman, or child depending on the test being performed. In the case of a side-impact collision test, a barrier strikes the side of the car just as a vehicle would if the vehicle ran a red and went into an intersection. The barrier is meant to represent a pickup truck or a sport’s utility vehicle hitting the side of the car undergoing testing. Cars were included in the IIHS tests only if safety devices including side airbags, torso protection, and head protection, were installed.
Test results proved prescient. When a vehicle was rated “good,” by IIHS, drivers in the car had a 70 percent reduced risk of being killed in a t-bone crash compared to when a vehicle was rated “poor.” A person in a car with a “poor” rating was also 64 percent more likely to die than someone in a car with an “acceptable,” rating. There was a statistically significant difference in good and acceptable cars, versus cars with lower ratings.
IIHS considered how much the car allowed the “SUV” barrier to intrude into passenger compartments, as well as the effectiveness of side airbags and torso and head protection systems. Those shopping for vehicles should strongly consider reviewing IIHS ratings when purchasing a car so if they become involved in a side-impact crash they reduce the chance of life changing injuries.