Every car manufacturer has certain safety standards that their cars must meet in order to be sold on the market. One of the most commonly tested safety standards is called crashworthiness, which refers to the ability of a structure to protect its occupants upon impact.
How Is Crashworthiness Determined?
The two main aspects of crashworthiness are structure and restraint. A quality structure has several parts. First, there needs to be a strong occupant compartment that will protect passengers from being crushed. Second, vehicles need to have crumple zones, where the force of impact can be absorbed by crushing parts of the vehicle other than the occupant compartment. Third, vehicles need to have a strong side structure that can manage the force exerted from a side impact. Lastly, a quality structure includes a strong roof. A strong roof should not collapse, especially in the case of a vehicle rollover.
Vehicle restraints also play an important role in bolstering the crashworthiness elements mentioned above. Seatbelts and airbags can greatly reduce the severity of car accident injuries and even prevent death. Seatbelts have been legally required in all cars since 1968, and it is estimated that seatbelts save 15,000 lives each year.
Vehicles undergo extensive crash testing to determine their crashworthiness. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests frontal crash protection, side crash protection, restraint systems, rollover, and child safety, among others, to categorize vehicles into four crashworthiness safety categories: good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration also tests vehicles for crashworthiness and assigns star ratings on a one-to-five numerical scale, with five stars indicating the highest possible safety rating. Through the New Car Assessment Program, consumers can compare the crashworthiness ratings of different vehicles to ensure they make an informed decision before buying a car.
Automotive Products Liability Attorneys
When a vehicle fails to adhere to safety standards, it can cause devastating injuries and even death. Roof crush, side-impact, and restraint failures are all ways a vehicle can fail to keep its occupants safe. If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident, you need the experienced attorneys at Craft Law Firm to evaluate the incident and to determine whether your car failed to meet mandatory industry safety standards, causing your injuries. Call us today for a free consultation.