They weren’t thinking of car accident injuries when they start making automobiles. The main thing was to get from Orlando to Kissimmee as quickly as possible. (This was way before I-4 in Central Florida.) It took a really long time for the whole passenger safety thing to catch on (with the help of personal injury lawyers). Up until relatively recently, it wasn’t really fashionable to use seat belts. They weren’t even offered as options in a new car until the mid-1950’s and weren’t standard equipment until 1966. Through the 1970’s, people looked at you kind of funny if you drove around wearing seat belts. Car accident injuries were pretty much a given in a collision.
It didn’t help that the auto industry fought the idea tooth and nail. Manufacturers didn’t like being told what to include when offering a car for sale. Many of the safety features we take for granted, like seat belts, padded dashboards, and energy-absorbing steering wheels that cut down on car accident injuries were invented way back in the 1930’s. But Detroit worried that costs for things like safety glass that didn’t slice you to ribbons in an accident might cut into profits. So for decades, the Annual Highway Traffic Death Toll rose and rose like stock in General Motors.
Car Accident Injuries and Deaths Tolerated for Decades
Throughout the 1960’s and 70’s the number of American citizens killed every year on the nation’s highways was about equal to the total number of American soldiers killed in the entirety of the Vietnam War. In 1965, an attorney named Ralph Nader published a book called Unsafe at Any Speed, which exposed Detroit’s deadly practices. The young lawyer’s work would have a big impact. Two years later, Congress created what would become the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Still, it took nearly 20 years for the rate of deaths and injuries from car accidents to begin to decline. Car accidents claimed more than 50,000 lives annually before beginning to decline in the 1980’s. That’s when manufacturers really began to exploit safety as a selling point. (Distracted driving has arrested the decline. Death and injury from car accidents are again on the increase due to texting and talking on the phone while driving — especially among teens.)
If someone injured you through carelessness or negligence, contact the Orlando Car Accident Attorneys at Martinez Manglardi. Call 407-846-2240 for a free consultation.