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Safety features on some cars designed to protect pedestrians

New Jersey drivers may be interested to hear that Honda and Volvo are actively seeking design changes for their vehicles that would make an auto accident more survivable for a pedestrian. These safety advances, including breakaway wipers, engines that absorb impact energy and exterior airbags, among others, are designed to keep a pedestrian from hitting the windshield.

When a pedestrian is struck, they are often hit in the legs and are subsequently thrown onto the hood before striking the windshield or windshield-wiper arms. In order to provide some protection to pedestrians in the event of an accident, fenders on Honda or Acura models are designed so that they are offset from the frame. In addition, the hood is offset from the engine to provide a limited cushion, and the windshield wipers break in the event of a collision with a pedestrian. Volvo has added windshield airbags on one of its 2013 models though these will not be available in the U.S.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has stated that it might evaluate the addition of pedestrian protection to its five-star safety rating. However, one automotive analyst argues that many people may not be willing to pay for this type of safety feature.

According to the NHTSA, 4,432 people were killed in auto accidents in 2011. Overall, 14 percent of the people who die in auto accidents are pedestrians.

Pedestrians who are involved in auto accidents are often severely injured. While many are entitled to compensation from the driver's insurance company, the adjuster will reduce the amount based on the percentage of fault of the injured individual. An experienced attorney may be able to help their client by maximizing the amount of compensation through negotiation with the insurance company.

Source: McAlester News-Capital, "Honda, Volvo lead design changes to help protect pedestrians in an accident", Angela Greiling Keane, July 05, 2013

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