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Loose objects become flying objects in car accidents

Safety is a primary concern with drivers and often time one of the primary features we look at when choosing a vehicle is the safety features that are provided to not only protect you from an accident but provide you with warnings to prevent collisions with other vehicles, pedestrians, or objects, such as backup cameras and collision warning systems.

Loose objects are responsible for numerous injuries in accidents

When you get in your vehicle, you take the first step to protecting yourself from injury in an accident by buckling up safety belts and securing young children in their properly designated child safety seats. This is an important step to ensuring your safety but will not protect you from other possible dangers in your car such as the risk of impact or injury by unsecured objects. 

A Visalia, California police officer Brent Miller learned the dangers of the loose objects in vehicle accidents first hand when he and his family were struck head-on.  "This 21-year-old guy driving a small pickup truck decided to pass traffic going in the opposite direction. As he passed that traffic he collided with us head on," said Miller. While his family had been secured in their seats and their one-year-old son was in his car seat, the young child suffered a cracked skull due to the impact with a loose cell-phone sitting inside of the vehicle.

Some items that you may commonly keep in your car that can pose a hazard include:

  • IPods
  • Phones
  • Navigation devices
  • Books
  • Purses
  • Laptops
  • Shoes
  • Garbage
  • Groceries
  • Water bottles
  • An unsecured passenger

Unsecured passengers can lead to severe injuries to themselves and others in the car

Not only is it dangerous to the passenger who is not properly secured, but an unsecured or improperly secured passenger can become a danger to all other passengers in a vehicle. A recent study by the American Medical Association found that an unrestrained passenger will act as a deadly projectile in the event of an accident. Using crash test dummies tests were performed to simulate an accident with an unrestrained passenger in the car. The test dummy was flung forward crashing into the dummy in the front seat and causing them both to hit the windshield. 

Sean Kane, the co-founder of Strategic Safety, was quoted as saying, "An unrestrained passenger creates a risk to all others inside a vehicle because they can be thrown about in a crash. From head impacts to serious internal injuries, it's a wide range depending on the severity of the crash."

How much does an unrestrained passenger increase the risks of fatalities?

You increase your risk of dying if you are in an accident in a vehicle where at least one other passenger is not properly secured in your seat by 25%. In all testing scenarios, the crash test dummies suffered severe injuries such as severed limbs and major impact injuries when they were in a crash-test situation with an unrestrained object, pet or passenger. 

What can you do to prevent these types of injuries from occurring? 

The simple fact is that the only way to reduce your risk of injury from impact from objects is by doing your best to prevent them. In essence, anything that is not attached to your vehicle can be considered a deadly object in the event of a crash. Before operating your vehicle, you need to:

  • Secure any and all objects not attached to the vehicle
  • Require all passengers to properly secure themselves with safety belts for your entire travel time
  • Keep pets in approved travel carriers or restraint systems and secure them in the vehicle
  • Keep groceries and other items in the trunk of the vehicle
  • For items you may need to use such as phones, make sure to put them up in either the glove box or console after use

Don't let a simple object mean the difference between life and death in the event you are involved in a vehicle accident. Take the proper steps to secure all objects and passengers in your car while it is in use. 

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