Last January, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
unveiled new side airbag regulations aimed at reducing rollover deaths.
Side airbags not only protect occupants from serious injury within the
vehicle during a car crash, they also minimize the risk of occupants being
ejected through the vehicle’s windows in the event it rolls over.
Rollover crashes claim more than 10,000 lives each year in the United
States, and occupant ejection accounts for a significant portion of those
deaths. In fact, according to the NHTSA, 64 percent of rollover deaths
involve partial or complete ejection. Therefore, if the new side airbag
regulations successfully reduce occupant ejection, then, theoretically,
we should see a reduction in rollover deaths as well.
Improvements in vehicle safety equipment certainly save lives, but unfortunately,
these measures do not save all lives. If someone else’s negligence
or recklessness caused a car crash that claimed the life of your loved
one, discuss your
wrongful death case with a compassionate Sarasota injury attorney today.
A Closer Look at the Regulations
The new side airbag regulations are set to be phased in starting Sept.
1, 2013, and all cars will be required to meet these “ejection mitigation”
standards by Sept. 1, 2017. To comply with the new regulations, car manufacturers will be:
- Enlarging side curtain airbags
- Making side curtain airbags inflate longer
- Manufacturing side curtain airbags so that they tether to the side pillars
of a vehicle after inflation
The improved side airbags will better cover window openings to keep occupants
from being launched out of a window during a crash. As the NHTSA describes
the new regulations, they are intended to “reduce the partial and
complete ejection of vehicle occupants through side windows in crashes,
particularly rollover crashes.” The improved airbags will not eliminate
rollover deaths, but the NHTSA is confident they will reduce the number
of people killed in rollover crashes each year. The agency expects 373
lives will be saved and 476 serious injuries will be prevented annually
in the U.S. Implementing the new regulations is expected to cost about
$31 per vehicle, which seems a small price to pay for hundreds of lives
saved every year.
In the U.S., there are more than 280,000 reported rollover accidents annually.
If you or a loved one was injured in a rollover crash that was caused
by another driver’s recklessness or by a defective product,
contact an experienced Sarasota injury lawyer today to ensure your rights are protected.