Almost a quarter of the people killed in car accidents in Texas and around the country lose their lives in side-impact collisions. These accidents are often called T-bone crashes, and they are dangerous because they usually take place at intersections and involve drivers who either did not see a red light or were speeding up to avoid stopping at one. Catastrophic injuries and death are also more common in T-bone accidents because the sides of motor vehicles do not protect their occupants as well as their fronts or rears.
Side-impact protection in the United States
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires all passenger vehicles sold in the United States to be able to withstand a side-impact test that is conducted using a moving deformable object, but meeting this standard did not become mandatory until 2012. Passenger vehicle occupants could also be subjected to forces far stronger than the test is designed to simulate in a real T-bone accident. Fortunately, safety is now a major automobile selling point, so many carmakers go well beyond what the law requires and equip their vehicles with side-curtain airbags and sturdy safety cages.
Vehicle occupants sitting on the side of a car struck in a T-bone accident suffer the most serious harm. When personal injury lawsuits are filed after one of these crashes, damages are most often awarded to plaintiffs who suffered head, neck and chest injuries. Whiplash injuries and concussions are suffered most often in side-impact collisions, but abdominal and leg injuries are not all that uncommon.
Distraction is a leading cause of side-impact collisions, which is worrying because mobile electronic devices have made the problem much worse in recent years. The best way to protect yourself against distracted drivers and T-bone collisions is to approach intersections with caution and look out for rapidly moving approaching vehicles even if the traffic signal is green.