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In each incident, I was alone in the vehicle while sitting at a stop light, my standard transmission had been shifted into neutral, my foot was on the brake and I was perfectly still when….WHAM!!! Both vehicles were Japanese produced sports cars and sustained bumper and taillight damage in the accident. The first vehicle was a Mitsubishi 3000 GT that weighed close to 3800 lbs. The second vehicle was a smaller Nissan 350 Z and lighter by almost 200 lbs. In the first accident, I sustained a neck injury that took months to heal. The second accident produced a slight abrasion on the side of the neck from the seat belt. What caused such dramatically different outcomes from two almost identical incidences?
Despite the Nissan being a smaller car, it was also not quite a decade newer than the Mitsubishi. Safety in the Automotive Industry has come a long way in short span of time. Improvements have been made to improve the impact through advances in shock absorbing bumpers. The 350 Z seat resembles something like a racing car seat, as it has been designed to cradle the driver. Headrests have become fully adjustable, even for a driver in the six foot range. Even the across the chest seat belt can also be adjusted to accommodate drivers of various sizes, with improvement made in the pretensioner and energy management features.
The Automotive Industry is no dummy! The safety, welfare and peace of mind of drivers and passengers everywhere are priority in hand with profit. Often when a consumer thinks about purchasing a new vehicle, it is all about the gadgets, appearance and convenience features. Safety is an afterthought, at least until that consumer is involved in an accident. The Automotive Industry while focusing on the “wants” of the consumers has silently in the background insured for the “needs” of the consumers, especially in the field of safety. Though few consumers will pull up with a new vehicle and brag about the top of the line energy management features to their friends, we certainly do appreciate the attention to safety detail when we are standing on the side of the road on our mobile phone with our insurance company.