The Risks to Passengers in Automobile Collisions

Posted on Aug 12, 2015 in Personal Injury

ABC News reported on the tragic death of John Nash, a man who was killed when a taxi driver lost control on the New Jersey Turnpike. Nash, like many people who ride in taxi cabs, was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the fatal accident. His wife was also not believed to have been wearing a seatbelt. The two were ejected from the vehicle.

This recent death was one of many that occurred among passengers who were riding in cars. Passengers are not responsible for the actions of the driver or for other motorists on the road, and are dependent upon others to keep them safe. While it is the obligation of the vehicle driver to exercise caution and avoid collisions, passengers can also reduce the chance of a deadly accident by choosing to buckle up.

Whether a passenger is buckled or not, however, does not make a difference in an accident claim for compensation. If a vehicle passenger was hurt or killed in a car crash, the passenger or his surviving family members should consult with a New Orleans auto accident attorney about moving forward with a civil lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death.

Passengers at Risk in Car Accidents

The majority of passengers do not choose to wear seatbelts when they are in taxi cabs or in chauffeured vehicles like limousines. One 2014 survey of New York taxi cab passengers, for example, revealed that 62 percent did not buckle up. Many of the passengers who opt against buckling up in a cab will end up slamming forward in the event of a crash, hitting their face on the partition dividing them from the cab driver. Injuries caused by this type of forward momentum are so common that ER doctors have named them “partition face.”

Facial injuries are not the worst consequence when a passenger in the back of a car does not have a seatbelt on. The tragic death of John Nash was only the most recent case to make headlines. One of the most famous cases was when Princess Diana was killed in the back of a car in 1997 when her driver was fleeing paparazzi and the vehicle crashed. The Princess did not have a seatbelt on. More recently, Bob Simon, a CBS correspondent, was killed in February of 2015 without a seatbelt on in the back of a chauffeured vehicle.

These passengers may not wear seatbelts because they think it is safe not to since they are with a professional driver. Passengers even in the back of vehicles with non-professional drivers do not realize the risk of going unbuckled in the back. There are 22 states that do not even require adults in the back of a car to be buckled up, which perpetuates the myth that it is safe to go unbuckled.

Ultimately, passenger safety remains the responsibility of drivers, and it is drivers who will be held accountable for injuries and losses with the help of auto accident attorneys in New Orleans. Still, passengers may be able to avert tragedy and stay safer by making the voluntary choice to buckle their seatbelts.

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