Seat Belt Safety Hazards

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

In 2015, seat belts were credited with saving nearly 14,000 lives and were used by 88.5% of Americans, according to the National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Despite seat belts being designed as a safety measure to keep passengers restrained in case of an accident however, these restraints can cause serious injuries to passengers that have a more delicate frame-like children and the elderly.

In an example of elderly drivers being harmed by a seat belt, Pam Sohn, 60, sustained a concussion and back injuries and even had to wear a neck brace after being hit by a Jeep. Sohn told CBS News, “I remember sitting there, and my body was just flipping back and forth. I probably would’ve went through the window or something the way I was moving around had I not had it on yeah, but it didn't do what I thought it would.” So, while the seat belt did indeed keep Sohn from being thrown out of the car, researchers also believe that the seat belt was not the proper fit for Sohn's 5'4 frame, which caused Sohn to be injured. Readers can reasonably conclude from Sohn's situation that had the seat belt been sized for Sohn's size, weight, and age, perhaps she would have been properly restrained to her seat instead of being jostled around during the car crash, thereby avoiding a concussion and back injuries. 

Seat Belts Are Not One Size Fits All

Car Crash Seat Belt Injury

Professor John Bolte of Ohio State University College of Medicine, claims that seat belts weren’t originally built with drivers like Sohn in mind. Bolte says that seat belts are designed with the idea to protect a 40-year-old male. This brings Bolte to ask the legitimate question of, “If a car can drive today without a person controlling it, why can’t we have a safety system that can respond to better save someone?”

With this question in mind, Bolte is currently studying cases like Sohn’s and other similar accidents in crash tests to study the amount of force needed to protect those who have smaller and fragile frames. He’s hoping that one day seat belts will be created to adjust to the driver in order to better protect them in case of an accident. Hopefully, factors such as weight, size, and height will all be taken into account in the study for inventing better seat belts. 

How To Properly Wear A Seat Belt

There is no denying that wearing a seat belt while driving is a major safety precaution. In fact, the NHTSA reports that if every driver from 1975 to the present time had been wearing a seat belt, nearly 382,000 lives could have been saved. However, the NHTSA also warns that seat belts are only effective if they are properly used. Guidelines state that the lap belt should be safely secured across the hips, not the stomach, and the shoulder strap should be resting in the middle of the driver's chest, on their shoulder and away from their neck. 

The number of senior drivers is expected to rise by approximately 65 percent in 2045, putting an even larger percentage of drivers on the road, at risk for serious injuries caused by seat belts. Hopefully, this can be avoided if new seat belts are invented by then. If not, drivers would do well to learn how to properly wear a seat belt, to avoid as much injury as possible, in case they are involved in a motor vehicle accident. 

Safety when driving is a serious issue. Though car accidents can't always be avoided, taking as many precautions as possible, such as wearing your seat belt properly, might be able to protect you from some of the more serious injuries sustained in a car collision. "In a 60 mph car crash, not wearing your seat belt is like falling from the 12th floor of a building." If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident, call the Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. We can handle your legal problems while you focus on getting the care and treatment you need to recover from your injuries. Call us today at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free consultation. 

Older Drivers Are Willing to Adapt to New Car Technology

Elderly Driver Car Crash Lawyer

Senior citizens are becoming more determined than ever to keep up with evolving technology in cars, in order to keep driving in their later years. According to a survey done by The Hartford, 76% of drivers 50 years old and up, would look for a car with the latest safety features. 

“Our findings indicate that some drivers, age 50+, would be more willing to drive in certain situations if they had particular technologies,” Jodi Olshevski, Executive Director of The Hartford Center, explained. The results show that seniors “associate advanced technologies with enhanced safety.” USA Today reports that some of these desired safety features include blind-spot warning, crash mitigation, lane-departure warnings, and advanced headlights. 

Perhaps even more surprising than the initial statistic is that only one in four older drivers is opposed to owning an autonomous vehicle, according to the study. 35% of respondents said they would be willing to give it a try, and 42% are informed enough about driverless cars to have an opinion. 

While a large majority of senior citizens are open to the idea of driving an autonomous vehicle, there are still some obstacles they would have to get through. The study found that 56% said they need to know that they would be as safe riding in a driverless car as they would be if they were driving themselves. Additionally, 48% would use a self-driving vehicle if their health prevented them from driving, 27% would use one if they helped them stay connected to friends, 27% if they were cheaper than a regular car, and 17% if somebody they trusted recommended a driverless car. 

Michigan Elder Law

In 2012, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) stated that there were almost 36 million licensed drivers age 65 and older in the United States. While driving can be beneficial to keeping senior citizens active and independent, it can also put seniors at higher risk for injuries and deaths in car accidents. An average of 586 elderly drivers are injured every day in crashes. 

How to Prevent Elderly Driver Injuries and Deaths (CDC)

  • Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year. Wear glasses and corrective lenses as required. 
  • Drive during daylight and in good weather conditions only. 
  • Find the safest route with well-lit streets, intersections with left turn arrows, and easy parking. 
  • Make sure to leave a large following distance behind the car in front of you. 
  • Exercise regularly to help increase strength and flexibility. 
  • Consider potential alternatives to driving, such as riding with a friend or using public transit, that you can use to get around. 

As stated above, injuries sustained by senior drivers can be serious even in the most minor of car collisions. It is extremely important that elderly victims of a car crash receive immediate medical attention. If you or somebody you know has been involved in an auto accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys are highly experienced in dealing with all types of motor vehicle accidents, including those involving elderly drivers. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.