Side impact or T-bone collisions are among the most dangerous types of car accidents on roadways in Hartford and throughout Connecticut. The Association for Advancement in Automotive Medicine reports in a study where side impact crashes accounted for 19 percent of all collisions, these T-bone accidents were the cause of 32 percent of fatalities.
Everyone in a side impact accident is at risk, but children are especially vulnerable to significant injury. Prevention of side impact crashes is essential to keep kids safe and reduce the dangers of a life-changing or life-ending tragedy.
Risk of Pediatric Injury in Side Impact Collisions
A collection of data on side impact collisions was studied to assess risk to children. The results were troubling:
- 23 percent of children received clinically significant injury in side impact accidents.
- 39 percent of children sustained injury to the head.
- 22 percent of children sustained an injury to an extremity.
- 17 percent suffered from an abdominal injury resulting from the crash.
When children are hurt in side impact accidents, it is very common for the injuries to be more serious than injuries sustained in other accident types.
Children between the ages of five and nine had a Maximum Abbreviated Injury Score (MAIS) of two or greater in 41 percent of side impact accidents studied. The Maximum Abbreviated Injury Score classifies severity of injury on a scale of one to nine. Level two reflects injuries that are considered moderate in severity, with higher MAIS scores reflecting progressively more serious injuries.
When assessing the MAIS score of children in other types of crashes which were not T-bone accidents, only 15 percent of kids had an MAIS score of two or greater after involvement with a front impact crash and only three percent of children had an MAIS score of two or higher when they were in rear-end accidents.
The data revealed injuries occurred even in side impact collisions which were relatively minor. The data also revealed much higher fatality rates for children who are involved in side-impact accidents.
The death rate when kids are in a T-bone crash is 30 percent, compared with a death rate of 17 percent for front impact accidents. Children who are sitting on the side of the car where the striking vehicle hits are at the greatest risk of fatalities or serious and permanent injuries.
Efforts are being made to make kids safer. In 2014, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed the first ever side-impact crash tests to be conducted on car seats and other child restraint systems.
The testing assessed whether a restraint system could keep a 12-month old and a three-year-old safe when the child was in a car traveling 30 MPH and the side of the car was hit by a vehicle traveling 15 MPH. Car seat manufacturers and manufacturers of child restraints were to be given three years to make improvements and necessary changes to respond to new crash test requirements.