Safety features could reduce car crash injury risk

Although car accident safety ratings have improved in recent years, new information could lead to an even more comprehensive picture about the protective abilities of specific vehicles. New measures proposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would help consumers choose their vehicles based on safety ratings for older drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

The program, known as the “silver” rating, could also include information about rear seat crashes and the car’s ability to protect children in a wreck. Scientific data shows that elderly drivers and passengers are more vulnerable to fatal injuries in a variety of car accidentmodels. Automakers are attempting to provide additional safety measures for these populations, including rear-seat seatbelt airbag systems.

Industry experts say auto manufacturers tend to pitch their products to the younger market, but the baby boomers are among the most powerful buying demographics in the nation today. As that group ages into the “senior” age bracket, they are more likely to buy vehicles that suit their needs and preferences; auto manufacturers should be considering the preferences of the largest generation in the history of the nation, according to market research.

Initial comments on the program appear positive. NHTSA and industry leaders are both participating in this general push toward improved vehicle safety, which also includes providing additional information for consumers. Much of the technology for the rear-seat and pedestrian crashes could be imported from European designs; those vehicles are modified to accommodate pedestrian collisions, largely because of the dense cities in which many drivers operate.

The new safety measures could provide additional protection for victims in car accidents, allowing them to suffer fewer injuries and thus recover faster. The safety features are not yet fully implemented, though, so people who have been injured in vehicle accidents should still consider seeking legal assistance to obtain the money they need to pay for medical and other costs.

Source: NBC NEWS, “Car safety ratings planned for seniors, pedestrians,” Paul A. Einsenstein, April 5, 2013