A recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found
that interior padding in vehicles reduces life-threatening head injuries
by 24 percent and cuts fatalities by 4 percent. Although head-protecting
side airbags have minimized the role of interior padding in protecting
passengers from head injuries, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
points out that padding “is still important” in minor motor
vehicle accidents “that don’t trigger airbags,” and
it also protects passengers whose “heads collide with vehicle parts
that aren’t covered by airbags.”
According to the IIHS, the study evaluated interior padding in terms of
its effectiveness to meet an occupant protection standard established
by the NHTSA in 1995. Researchers analyzed severe head injuries in general
and head injuries that contributed to fatalities specifically, in vehicles
without head-protecting side airbags.
Automakers began adding interior padding to vehicles in the late 1990s,
using energy-absorbent materials such as “composite plastic foam,
egg-crate-like ribs and crushable tubes,” according to the IIHS.
The agency estimates that interior padding “adds about $26 to the
lifetime cost of purchasing and operating a vehicle,” which seems
a small price to pay for a 24 percent reduction in life-threatening head injuries.
Although interior padding in vehicles has been shown to reduce the rates
of occupant injury and death,motor vehicle accidents continue to be the
second leading cause of traumatic brain injury for all age groups in the
U.S., and the number one cause of TBI-related deaths. TBI victims may
suffer from lifelong impairments, such as memory loss, speech problems,
chronic headaches, mood swings, personality changes, trouble concentrating
and sensory problems. Auto accidents can also result in other serious
injuries, including broken bones, burns, organ damage, disfigurement,
paralysis, nerve damage and spinal cord injuries.
It is important to note the recent changes to Florida’s PIP law,
as these changes directly affect victims of motor vehicle accidents. Florida
drivers are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury
protection. Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, accident victims will be required
to seek medical attention within 14 days of the accident, and only persons
with an emergency medical condition will be entitled to receive the full
PIP coverage of $10,000. The PIP limit for all others will be $2,500.
If you or a loved one has sustained serious injuries in a car accident,
a Sarasota injury attorney can review your case and determine whether
you may be entitled to PIP coverage and other compensation. Contact an
experienced Sarasota injury lawyer today for a free consultation to learn
about your legal rights.