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Top Five Most Important Safety Features for Cars

An outline of the five most important safety features in cars to help motorists avoid catastrophic injuries and death on the heels of a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that shows U.S. traffic fatalities soared 13.5 percent in the first quarter of 2012, a significant increase over the same timeframe a year ago.

According to the report, an estimated 7,630 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes for the first quarter this year. That's a 13.5% increase over 6,720 fatalities in the first quarter of 2011, according to NHTSA.

"While certain safety features like electronic stability control and antilock brakes come standard on new cars, pay particular attention to used car safety equipment, especially on older models," said Brian Chase, partner at Bisnar Chase and auto defects expert. "If you can, it's worth the added investment to pay more for a late model used car with advanced safety features, or a vehicle with added equipment versus a stripped down model."

  1. Electronic Stability Control
    When a car goes in a direction different than the position of the steering wheel, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) uses steering angle sensors and wheel sensors to assist with braking, to help a driver maintain control. ESC was introduced in a few cars in 1995 and is standard in all 2012 models.
  2. Antilock Brakes
    Antilock braking systems (ABS) prevent wheels from locking up during emergency braking by automatically regulating brake pressure, enabling the driver to maintain control while helping the car stop in the shortest possible distance. In 1987, ABS came standard on some vehicles and optional on others. It's now standard on all 2012 models.
  3. Side Curtain Airbags
    During a side impact crash, side curtain airbags inflate to protect your head and/or your chest. Unlike front airbags, side curtain airbags may stay inflated for a longer period of time to protect occupants during a rollover. Side curtain airbags were introduced in 1998 and are standard or optional on many new cars today.
  4. Rear Center Seat Lap/Shoulder Belts
    Some vehicles are equipped with a lap belt in the rear center seat, not a shoulder and lap belt combination which is a much safer option in preventing severe injuries and death. Lap/shoulder belt combinations became law-mandated standard equipment in all rear center seats beginning in 2007.
  5. Collision Warning Systems
    Today, there are a number of new cars that come equipped with advanced collision warning systems, including forward collision and lane departure warnings. Collision warning systems use radar to detect when vehicles or objects come within dangerous proximity to the vehicle and will issue audio or visual warnings to alert the driver of the hazard.

About Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attonreys

Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys represent people who have been very seriously injured or lost a family member due to a California personal injury accident, car accident, defective product or negligence throughout the state. The auto defects law firm has won a wide variety of auto defect cases against many major auto manufacturers, including Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Nissan and Chrysler.

Brian Chase, auto defects expert and partner at Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys is the author of the most up-to-date and comprehensive auto defect book available today, Still Unsafe at Any Speed: Auto Defects that Cause Wrongful Deaths and Catastrophic Injuries.

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