In this era of deregulation, it’s good to remember why regulations exist at all. For example, before the 1960’s, the government did not generally force car makers to take steps to make safer automobiles. As the number of cars on America’s roads continued to grow, the number of car accidents steadily rose. And more car accidents meant more car accident injuries and deaths.
Seat belts used to be optional in most cars. Even then, the only type available was the standard lap belt, which led to many head and neck injuries. Most dashboards were metal and few cars came equipped with headrests. In a rear-end collision—a common car accident—the driver’s head would smash into the unyielding and unpadded steering wheel. Then, the force would fling a person’s body back into the seat, hyperextending the neck. Skull fractures, whiplash, sprains, and soft-tissue injuries often resulted. Car accident attorneys and personal injury lawyers see many such cases.
Regulations Reduce Injuries from Car Accidents
In 1962, a Swedish engineer developed the three-point restraint, the shoulder belt we know today. But back then the idea was slow to catch on. It wasn’t until 1965, when a young attorney named Ralph Nader published a book called “Unsafe at any Speed,” that most people began paying attention to the horrendous toll of highway death and injury from car accidents. Nader’s book exposed a lot of Detroit’s unsafe design and manufacturing practices.
Even though the auto industry fought against it, in 1968 Congress enacted a law requiring cars to be equipped with seat belts. But that didn’t mean people would use them. The rate of death and injuries from car accidents continued to rise. The carnage peaked in the early 1970’s when around 55,000 people died on America’s highways annually. Then states began enacting laws requiring seat belt use and the federal government started mandated safer vehicles. Deaths and injuries from car accidents began to decline. Even as the number of cars on the road grew steadily, fewer people were dying and getting hurt. The number of people annually killed in car accidents reached a low of about 35,000 in the 2000’s. (But distracted driving has reversed that trend.)
A new report confirms that the reduction in deadly car accidents is due to the safety reforms enacted in the 70′ and 80’s. The investigative news organization Fair Warning says that nearly 6,000,000 lives have been saved since 1968.
It’s because of these safety regulations that the driver in this Florida car accident was able to walk away:
If you need to recover losses from a Florida car accident, contact the Orlando car accident attorneys at Martinez Manglardi. Call 407-846-2240 for a free consultation. Offices throughout Central Florida.