There is a T-Bone accident called the “far side impact” that causes death and traumatic brain injury. It is the Achilles heel of occupant safety. The driver rolls out of their seatbelt when broadsided on the passenger side.
The crash test dummies in the video below show how the driver and passenger suffer catastrophic injuries when their heads hit together. The driver also hits the seat.
This hazard is called “head knocking”. The automotive industry has known about it for decades.
Vehicle Safety Lawyer Todd Tracy Reveals The Deadly Far Side Impact
Far Side Tbone Collision Occupants Suffer Severe Injuries Because They Rollout Of Their Seatbelts
Since a far side occupant rolls out of their seat belt, they hit the intruding structure.
- Maintain occupant survival space.
- Manage, distribute and channel collision energy away from survival space.
This scientific animation of a far side impact shows the deadly effect.
Our client in this Chevrolet rolled out of her seatbelt and struck the intruding structure. I argued that General Motors violated its internal safety standards stated in 1993. “The passenger compartments in GM vehicles are designed to a ‘safety cage,’ surrounded by body structures that deform in a crash to absorb energy that might otherwise be transmitted to the occupants.”
The driver’s restraint should go from right to left. In Europe, they use a “reverse geometry” seatbelt to help prevent injuries in a far side-impact collision. This defect violates 2 vehicle crashworthiness principles:
Seat Belt Restraint Systems Are Defective
The defective safety design violates two vehicle safety principles. It does not provide proper restraint throughout the entire accident, and it does not prevent the ejection of an occupant.
The purpose of a seat belt is to minimize injuries and deaths following an accident by reducing harmful vehicle contacts, apply loads to strong parts of the body, and prevent ejection.
Volkswagen patented a fix for this known defect in 1995.
In 2015, General Motors used a center-mounted airbag in its Chevrolet Traverse. The rest of the automotive industry is playing catch up.
Many side curtain airbags fail to protect shorter occupants as shown in the video below.
You have a wrongful death or personal injury case in all of the above broadside Tbone side-impact accidents because the automaker violated vehicle crashworthiness principles.
The side curtain airbags do not protect a far side occupant from injury. The bags deploy and deflate in a short 74 milliseconds. It takes an occupant 106 milliseconds for their head to hit the door. By then the airbag curtain is deflated.
Vehicles need long duration side curtain airbags that cover entirely the doors to protect far side occupants who rebound into the door as shown in the photo.
High Strength Safety Cages Provide More Protection in Tbone Broadside Collisions
There is a safer alternative design currently being used by some automakers. You may have a vehicle crashworthiness case if your vehicle was not equipped with UHSS side door beams attached to UHSS pillars and surrounded by UHSS rocker panels and side rails as shown above.