For the first time, new government regulations are being introduced to protect young children from injury and death in side-impact crashes. According to an ABC News report, the proposal by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) would upgrade and improve standards for safety seats for children weighing up to 40 pounds to include a new test that simulates a side impact collision. The safety agency estimates that these new standards will help prevent five child deaths and 64 injuries every year.
T-bone or Broadside Crashes
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), most deadly side-angle crashes in the year 2005 were broadside crashes. These types of traffic collisions typically occur at right angles. About 62.5 percent of fatal side-angle crashes are broadsides. Research also shows that many child deaths and injuries in these types of collisions involve a car carrying children that is stopped at an intersection, usually at a light or stop sign. When the vehicle begins to accelerate and go through the intersection, it is struck in the side by another vehicle traveling at a higher rate of speed on the cross street.
Under the new NHTSA proposal, the tests for child car seats will simulate a T-bone or side-impact crash where the front of a vehicle traveling at 30 mph strikes the side of a small passenger vehicle traveling at 15 mph. The tests will position the car seat on a sled, with another sled ramming the side of the sled with the seat. The tests don’t use actual vehicles since the goal is not to test the crashworthiness of the vehicles, but the car seats. The regulations may not be made final for several months as they go through the approval process. After the rules become effective, car seat makers will have three years to meet the new requirements.
A Step in the Right Direction
There is no question that these new regulations are a step in the right direction when it comes to vehicle safety. Today’s vehicles have front and side airbags to protect adults. These new standards will help protect the most precious cargo in our vehicles – our children. As California car accident lawyers who represent injured crash victims of all ages, we always emphasize the use of a good quality car seat. We also hope these new regulations will motivate car seat manufacturers to improve the quality of their products. Research has proved time and time again that car seats do save children’s lives. We hope that these new safety standards will help prevent even more child injuries and fatalities in the future.