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The Impact of Side Impact Collisions

Over the past 20 years, the number of deaths related to front impact crashes has declined, while side impact crash fatalities have increased by 20 percent, in part due to larger vehicles, like SUVs, on the road. In a side impact crash, there is an average of just eight inches of steel protecting children in the back seat. Side impact collisions are among the deadliest type of collision for children, accounting for one in three child crash fatalities, nearly all of which are caused by head trauma.

side impact
  • 1 in 4 car crashes involving children are side impact collisions. They are by far the deadliest type of collision for children, accounting for 1 in 3 child fatalities; nearly all of which are caused by head trauma.
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in a crash, a child’s head is the body part most vulnerable to serious and fatal injuries, accounting for 95 percent of all injuries sustained.

    side impact
  • Between 1981 and 2001, frontal impact fatalities for all occupants dropped from 61 percent to 43 percent due to significant improvements in frontal crash protection according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS).
  • IIHS also reports that during the same 20 year span, the percentage of side impact fatalities rose from 31 percent to 51 percent due mainly to the increase of travel speeds and the amount of SUVs on the road.
  • Side airbags that protect the head, chest and abdomen reduce driver deaths by an estimated 37 percent, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

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