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Reduced Traffic Deaths May Mean More Serious Injuries

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The percentage of people killed in highway accidents has been steadily decreasing over the past few years and we’re at the lowest percentage of highway fatalities since 1961, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. By all accounts, this is a good thing, but two important questions remain unanswered – how and why is this decline occurring?

Some indicate it’s due to the poor economy and people are simply driving less. "The recession is probably the biggest contributor but it’s not the only contributor," said Barbara Harsha, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, according to the AP.

Harsha also mentioned an increase in seat belt use and air bags becoming standard equipment in most cars.

Nevertheless, the decrease in highway deaths could be correlated to an increase in serious injuries. For example, air bags have been known to cause major head and neck injuries due to the propulsion of the bag. They’re especially dangerous for individuals who are tall or short. They’ve even proven to be lethal for children.

Here’s a video illustrating some of the potential injury issues related to air bags…


Seat belts are another possible cause of injury. In fact, since legislation was introduced making seat belts mandatory in all vehicles, sternal fractures (i.e. fractures to the chest) have increased threefold, according to a Medical Journal.

As an injury lawyer who regularly represents victims of car accidents, I’ve seen firsthand these types of injuries. However, I want to be clear that air bags and seat belts save lives and they’re both vital safety mechanisms, but that doesn’t mean you’re exempt from injury if you have both in your vehicle.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton is a law firm which focuses on injury and accident law and our attorneys have handled thousands of car and truck accident cases. Check out our case results to see for yourself. In addition, check out our FREE special reports on distracted driving and The Best Guide to Car Accident injuries in Virginia. Our primary office in based in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA) although our lawyers hold licenses in NC, SC, WV, KY and DC. We are ready to talk to you by phone right now—we provide free initial confidential injury case consultations, so call us toll free at 1-800-752-0042. Our injury attorneys also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube . Furthermore, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard and Norfolk Injuryboard as a pro bono public information service.