Head-on auto accidents occur frequently in Birmingham and surrounding areas. The large volume of traffic on the area’s highways and interstate systems contributes to a large number of wrecks each year. The Birmingham car accident attorneys at Cross & Smith have handled numerous head-on auto accidents.
Head-on vehicle crashes are typically either central impacts with direct front center impacts to both vehicles or offset collisions to either the driver or passenger’s side in which the impacts to one or both vehicles is offset from the center point . Studies have reported that frontal or head-on collisions are the most frequent auto accident scenario causing serious and fatal injuries.
Although improvements have been made in vehicle safety due to government regulations establishing minimum standards for frontal impacts, and the pressure exerted by the trial bar in civil lawsuits arising out of the design and manufacture of unsafe vehicles, much remains to be done. Improvements are needed in three areas. The structural integrity of the vehicle’s front part is critical in an auto accident. Design engineers should continue to focus on structural designs that provide the most protection from forces encountered in a head-on collision. They should design the passenger’s compartment, particularly the front portion of the interior with energy absorbing materials and surfaces to provide maximum interior protection. These materials and surfaces should be in addition to properly functioning and deploying air bag systems. Seat belt systems should be designed to restrain and lock during the crash event so as to provide maximum restraint protection.
Seemingly simple measures are available to improve interior safety. By increasing the depth and width of padding in key interior impact areas, safety is improved. Steering assemblies have historically been a source of major injury. Improvements have been made with redesigned steering columns and assembly and by the addition of air bag systems. Years ago, steering assemblies, particularly metal and hard surface steering wheels, greatly increased the risk of injury to drivers in frontal impact collisions. Head, chest and abdomen are areas vulnerable to serious injury from impacts with steering wheels and columns in a car accident. When comparison is made to vehicles designed and manufactured forty to fifty years ago, the improvements in safety are startling. Lap belt only restraint systems, upper instrument panels composed exclusively of metal, rigid steering assemblies composed of metal and sharp edge parts are only a few of the obvious safety deficiencies that existed.
In addition to the frontal impact ratings for compliance with the minimum standards established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a more stringent rating is provided by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for auto accident frontal impact protection. Consumers may access the ratings of both NHTSA and IIHS by researching a particular vehicle online. We encourage clients and others to use these valuable sources before purchasing a new vehicle. The reliability of the tests and ratings of both NHTSA and IIHS have been called into question by consumer advocates. Many remain concerned that manufacturers design vehicle safety to meet the tests conducted by these entities, and disregard other safety considerations in the process. Although such criticism is justified in many respects, the tests and ratings of NHTSA and IIHS do at least provide some degree of advance notice of a vehicle’s safety features when compared to other vehicles in the market place.
If you or someone you know is in need of legal representation for injuries received in a head-on auto accident, please contact the Birmingham car accident attorneys at Cross & Smith. We have handled numerous head-on collision cases in Birmingham and across Alabama for over twenty years. Please feel free to call us at (877) 791-0618 for a free consultation or contact us online.