In the United States each year, 17,000 people on average are killed or seriously injured while sitting in the far-side of a vehicle involved in a T-Bone accident, according to Association for Advancement of Automotive Medicine. A T-Bone accident involves one car hitting the side of another. Passengers sitting on the side struck by the vehicle are considered "near-side" passengers and those sitting on the opposite side are considered "far-side" passengers.
Among far-side passengers who are seriously injured or killed, 21 percent sustain head injuries and 33 percent sustain chest injuries. An experienced T-Bone accident attorney knows injuries to the head and chest are among the most common injury types sustained by all parties involved in a side impact crash, regardless of their location in the vehicle. For those sitting in the far-side, however, head and chest injuries most frequently occur when the passenger hits the interior of the side of the car opposite where they are sitting. The far-side passengers hit the side of the vehicle struck by the intruding car.
There are some ways to prevent this type of injury and reduce the chances a far-side passenger involved in a T-Bone collision will hit the opposing side. Although there are simple safety innovations which could potentially prevent fatalities if implemented in cars, little attention is paid to protecting far-side passengers.
More Should Be Done to Protect T-Bone Accident Passengers
Association for Advancement of Automotive Medicine reports on the lack of safety standards to protect passengers in the far-side of a vehicle involved in a T-Bone accident. Since 1997, there has been a rule in place - Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 214 - to protect people on the near-side by requiring vehicle side panels meet certain criteria. There is no federal rule in place to mandate safety features designed to protect far-side passengers, according to Virginia Tech.
Far-side passengers may not be getting as much attention because near-side passengers are at greater risk. People on the side of the car struck in a T-Bone accident sustain 57 percent of serious injuries and 76 percent of passenger deaths when a side-impact accident happens. Still, a significant percentage of people involved in T-Bone collisions are sitting on the far-side and suffer lasting harm as a result.
The probability of someone sitting on the side near the point-of-impact in a T-Bone accident is approximately 50 percent, so you have an equal chance of being a passenger in the near or far side when involved in a side-impact crash.
A different seat belt design, like a four-point V design with bands over both shoulders, could help keep you in place and prevent fatalities. Adjusting seat belt pretension or the use of side airbags could also help keep passengers on the far-side safe. Despite these possibilities, no efforts seem to be in place to institute safety standards to ensure motorists are as safe as possible in any broadside accident, no matter where they sit in the car.