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Head on Collisions and the Importance of Safety Restraints

Head-on Car Accident

Fatal crashes are on the rise every year, especially in Nevada. The number of Nevada fatal crashes through June of this year was twice of that of the 6-month mark in 2020. The Nevada Office of Traffic Safety also states that there was a 3.3 percent increase between 2019 and 2020 in fatal accidents with officials seeing an additional 20 percent rise so far in 2021 [1]. One of the most common fatal accidents are head-on crashes and the Institute for Highway Safety reported a fifty-eight percent fatality rate for head-on crashes.

Head-On Crashes

Many head on collisions involve two vehicles colliding front to front, but other head-on crashes can involve a vehicle hitting a tree, building, or any stationary object. Common causes of these crashes are listed below:

  • Speeding drivers who are unable to control their car.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol of drugs
  • Entering a freeway exit or street in the wrong direction
  • Medical emergencies
  • Distracted driving— Especially when the driver is on their phone or looking away from the road for extended periods of time.

These collisions cause the occupant to continue moving forward unless they are restrained. Therefore seatbelts, airbags, and other vehicle safety features are important to not only have but use. While these safety features can help, many still suffer serious injuries. The most common injury is traumatic brain injury which is caused by your brain continuing to move forward and rebounding against the skull. This can either cause a concussion or severe trauma that can leave you paralyzed or in a coma. Another common injury is neck sprains or whiplash caused by the head jerking forward and back during the crash. This can cause injuries in the ligaments, spinal disks, and invertebrate joints.  Other common injuries include broken bones, sprains, pulls, and muscle strains. The most serious consequences of these crashes are death.

Importance of Seatbelts and Airbags

Seatbelts and other safety restraints are the best way to prevent death. Ensure that every passenger has fastened their seatbelt and that all airbags are working properly. Also look out for vehicles that allow you to turn off airbags. Ensure that you did not accidentally turn off any sensors or buttons that may disable the airbags. This can have catastrophic effects. According to NHTSA 14,600 lives were saved when those five and older wore seatbelts. In addition, the front seatbelt saved 2,760 people aged thirteen and older. Another 330 lives were saved when younger children were properly fastened in child restraints like a car seat or booster. [2]

While seatbelts and airbags are both important, many assume that they do not need to buckle up because they will be protected by the airbag. However, airbags are “supplemental restraints” which means that they were not meant to replace seatbelts. Seatbelts are meant to protect the occupant and give them body support and restrain ejection. The airbag provides a cushion between the occupant and the steering wheel, dashboard, windshield, or any other surfaces. Airbags help protect the head, face, neck, and chest area.  Th4ey do not necessarily stop you from being ejected.[3]

Seatbelt usage is a big problem in Nevada, and eleven percent of people, almost 400,000 people, still choose not to wear a seatbelt when driving. This seatbelt usage rate of 89 percent is lower than the national average of 92 percent. [4]  If at least one percent of people chose to wear their seatbelt, it would save at least 200 lives a year. In addition, in Nevada, while seatbelt usage is required, a person cannot be ticketed or pulled over for not wearing their belt. Rather, they can only be fined if they were stopped for another driving infraction. Nevada is only one of fifteen states that does not have a primary seatbelt law. Programs like Making Nevada Safer is working with local authorities and lawmakers to make seatbelt safety a priority and reduce the fatal accidents on our roads.

Compensation After an Head-On Accident

Head-on Collisions can have severe repercussions including life-changing injuries and even death. If you or someone you love was involved in a head-on car crash that was caused by someone else’s reckless actions, and have sustained severe injuries, you should seek compensation. You may receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If your family member was killed in the crash, you may be able to get compensation for loss of consortium, loss of companionship, or may be able to claim punitive damages. If you think you qualify for compensation, seek the help of an injury attorney in Nevada that can help assess your case.

[1] https://news3lv.com/news/local/officials-see-20-percent-rise-in-traffic-related-fatalities-so-far-in-2021
[2] https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/Publication/812451
[3] https://www.spineuniverse.com/conditions/spinal-cord-injury/airbags-seat-belts-spine-protection
[4] https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/79th2017/ExhibitDocument/OpenExhibitDocument?exhibitId=26081&fileDownloadName=0214b_dava.pdf

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