Are People Getting More or Less Hurt in Auto Accidents?

According to the World Health Organization, 1.35 million people die in auto accidents every year in the United States. Your likelihood of getting hurt in an auto accident depends on where you live, socio-economic factors, the kind of vehicles involved, and whether or not you were wearing your seatbelt when the accident happened. Due to the increased safety of motor vehicles made after 2009, people are getting less hurt in auto accidents today than in the past. However, even if you drive a car manufactured after 2009, there are still factors that can increase or decrease your chances of getting hurt in an auto accident


Fewer People are Getting Hurt in Auto Accidents

A recent study analyzed over 31,000 people who were involved in auto accidents between 1998 and 2015. The data revealed that car drivers and riders are more than half as likely to sustain serious injuries in car accidents when the car involved was manufactured in 2009 or later. This study controlled for height, weight, BMI, the driver’s age, and the closeness to the steering wheel.


Factors that Increase or Decrease Your Risk of Injury in Auto Accidents

Failure to use safety devices can increase your risk of injury in an auto accident. For example, the following actions can help keep you safer during an accident:

  • Using a helmet that fits well while riding a motorcycle will decrease your risk of death in an accident by 42%.
  • Wearing a helmet that fits well while riding a motorcycle will decrease your risk of head injuries in an accident by 69%. 
  • Wearing a seatbelt will decrease the likelihood of getting hurt in an auto accident by 45-50%. Additionally, wearing a seatbelt will decrease your risk of serious injuries and death by 25%. 
  • Properly using a child safety car seat will decrease a child’s risk of death by 60%.


Women are More Likely to Get Hurt in a Car Accident

According to a University of Virginia study in 2011, women are nearly 50% more likely to be seriously injured or killed in an auto accident. Additionally, women are 73% more likely to suffer serious injury or death in a car accident than men. Women continue to be more vulnerable to serious injuries in car accidents than men, even when they wear a seatbelt. This difference is the most noticeable when women are riding in the front seat when the accident takes place. 

Unfortunately, nobody knows exactly why women are at greater risk of suffering an injury than men. Perhaps it is because women’s pelvises are generally wider and more shallow then the pelvises of men. Perhaps the reason has to do with the distribution of fat in men and women, which is starkly different. Women often have more weight around their thighs and waist, whereas men often have more weight around their belly. 

Finally, female test dummies are often only 5 feet tall, weighing 110 pounds. On the one hand, it can be beneficial to use extremes in size for testing purposes. On the other hand, the size of the female test dummies used does not accurately represent most women in the United States.


Unsafe Roads Increase Your Risk of Injury in a Car Accident

The safer the roads, the lower the rate of car accidents. Cities and municipalities have a responsibility to design roads with the safety of all drivers in mind. Safe roads have adequate space on the side of the road for emergency vehicles and law enforcement vehicles. Cities should also put effort into making footpaths, crossing points, cycling lanes, and intersections safe for pedestrians and drivers alike. 

If you suffered an injury due to a dangerous road condition or a poorly designed road, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Hazardous road conditions can include missing guardrails, road debris, potholes, and cracks. In some cases, those injured by a car accident caused by hazardous road conditions have a right to bring a lawsuit against the state, county, or city government responsible for maintaining the roads. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against the contractor or government agency responsible for the hazardous road conditions. 


Unsafe Vehicles Cause Traffic Accidents

The safety of the motor vehicle involved in the crash directly affects the likelihood of a serious injury. Vehicle manufacturers must meet certain safety standards. Manufacturers must meet front and side-impact regulations, including electronic stability control. Manufacturers must also ensure that seat-belts and airbags are fitted for all vehicles. When manufacturers do not provide these basic safety functions, they put drivers and passengers at an increased risk of injury. When manufacturers create motor vehicles with unsafe design defects, they may be liable for any car accidents that result in injuries. 


The Most Common Auto Accident Injuries 

The five most common car accident injuries include head injuries, broken bones, back injuries, whiplash, and psychological injuries. Head injuries range from mild to incredibly severe. The force of the accident, the location of the victim’s head, and whether or not the head impacted with an object will factor into the severity of the head injury. Massive head injuries can cause brain swelling and bleeding that can result in death if not treated. Head injuries are often difficult to diagnose because the symptoms do not show up immediately. 

Broken bones are another common injury caused by auto accidents. The more pressure applied to the bone, the more easily it could break and cause open wounds. Compound fractures happen when the bone penetrates out of the skin. The treatment for compound fractures often includes surgery and extensive physical therapy. 

Whiplash happens when the force of the car accident causes the neck to rapidly snap back-and-forth. Injuries from whiplash are common in rear-end accidents. The pain from whiplash accidents can often show up days or even weeks after the car accident. If you have experienced back or neck injuries from a car accident, chiropractic care can help. Contact the Injury Care Center today to discuss your chiropractic care options.