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Rockford injury lawyersThe majority of car accidents are caused by human error. Taking a turn too fast, running a red light, driving while intoxicated, or texting and driving may all lead to injury-causing crashes. However, not every collision is the result of poor driving. In some cases, a crash is caused or aggravated by defective vehicle components. If you or a loved one were harmed in an auto accident, it is important to understand how vehicle defects may have played a role.

When is a Vehicle or Vehicle Part Considered Defective?

Just like all other consumer products, motor vehicles cannot present unreasonable risks to buyers. If a vehicle or vehicle component is defective and that defect causes an individual to be injured or killed, the party responsible for the defect may be liable for damages.

Vehicle defects typically fall into one of two categories: design defects or manufacturing defects. A design defect occurs when a product was unreasonably unsafe from its inception. Every product in that particular line of products may need to be recalled and fixed or replaced.  A manufacturing defect occurs when a mistake during the manufacturing process causes a vehicle component to function incorrectly or contain unreasonable safety hazards.

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Rockford personal injury attorneyFrom the beginning of automobile manufacturing, auto manufacturers have worried about safety. Motor vehicles are constantly being redesigned with increasingly effective safety features. Components like seatbelts, safety glass, and padded dashboards were among the first efforts at increased automobile safety. Airbags designed to cushion passengers in the event of a car crash were another significant addition to automobile design. More recently, experts have been working to understand how these safety features work together to prevent passenger injury during a traffic accident. Insurance companies and automakers are continuously analyzing data in an attempt to answer the question, “Which seat is the safest to be in during a car crash?” 

The Rear Middle Seat Is Often the Farthest from Impact

Many people believe that the rear middle seat is the safest seat in an average automobile. This seat is the furthest away from the sides of the car. In the event of a crash, the passenger in the middle seat is theoretically less likely to come into contact with crushed windows and sides and suffer injury. Statistically, the rear middle seat has been found to be the safest seat during crashes that occur at intersections.

NHTSA Says Children Should Always Ride in the Back Seat

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) officially recommends that parents place children under 13 years of age in the back seat. The rear middle seat is considered the best seat for children, but only if that seat is equipped with a functioning 3-point seat belt. The NHTSA also recommends the rear middle seat as the safest location for a child in a car seat. Studies show that placing a car seat in the rear middle may reduce the risk of injury by up to 43 percent.

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Rockford personal injury attorneysAggressive driving is a common factor in traffic accidents across America. In fact, a 2009 study from the American Automobile Association (AAA), which used information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatal Accident Report System (FARS), had found aggressive driving to be a factor in as many as 56 percent of all U.S. car crashes between the years 2003 and 2007. What does these statistics mean for non-aggressive drivers, and what can victims do after an accident has occurred?

What Constitutes Aggressive Driving?

Most people see the terms “aggressive driving” and “road rage” as synonymous, but road rage is actually a form of aggressive driving—certainly one of the more concerning displays of it. Other forms of aggressive driving include:

  • Speeding;
  • Following too closely, or “tailgating;”
  • Racing;
  • Improper lane changes;
  • Driving on the shoulder;
  • Driving in the median;
  • Passing where prohibited;
  • Failure to yield the right of way;
  • Failure to signal;
  • Driving too fast for road conditions;
  • Improper turns;
  • Reckless or erratic handling of a vehicle;
  • Failure to obey traffic signs or controls; and
  • Failure to observe warnings or instructions.

All these maneuvers and behaviors may place the driver and other road users at risk for an accident. If a crash does occur, aggressive drivers may be held liable for the injuries or damages experienced by victims.

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