In some of the most serious car accidents in the St. Joseph region, the driver or one of the passengers can be ejected from the vehicle. These ejections are far more likely to happen when the occupant was not wearing a seatbelt. Contrary to what some people think, when ejections do happen, they drastically increase the odds of the victim being severely hurt or even killed.
Two Types of Vehicle Ejections in a Car Crash
There are two types of vehicle ejections:
- Total ejection
- Partial ejection
When someone is totally ejected, the occupant’s entire body ends up outside of the vehicle. Partial ejections only mean that a part of the person’s body, like an arm, was outside of the car at some point during the crash.
Speed is Often a Factor
It should come as little surprise, given the high degree of impact required to throw someone from their vehicle, that speed is often a factor in vehicle ejections. This is not to say that only drivers who are speeding are at risk of being ejected in a crash. Instead, it means that highway driving is far more likely to lead to an ejection.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 18.6 percent of car occupants were ejected in fatal crashes on roads with speed limits over 60 miles per hour. When the speed limit was less than 40, meanwhile, fewer than 10 percent of victims were ejected.
Ejections Can Be Deadly
When vehicle occupants get thrown from their vehicle, the results are often catastrophic.
The myth that people who get ejected from car accidents are sent “free and clear” of the danger is just that: A myth. The NHTSA found that only 0.3 percent of people who were ejected during a crash were left uninjured.
The reason for this is simple: Cars are designed to protect the people inside during a crash. Drivers and passengers who are ejected lose all of that protection. They are also disoriented and often incapacitated from the ejection, leaving them powerless to avoid serious dangers, once they have been thrown clear of the wreck.
Seatbelts and New Vehicles Can Prevent Ejections
Perhaps one of the best ways to prevent an ejection is to wear a seatbelt.
The NHTSA analyzed the 400,000 passenger vehicle occupants who were involved in fatal crashes between 2003 and 2007. It found that only 2 percent of those who were restrained by a seatbelt were ejected. Meanwhile, 35.3 percent of those who were not wearing a seatbelt were ejected.
Certain vehicles are better at keeping occupants inside the car than others. In the NHTSA’s analysis of fatal crashes, mentioned above, it found that newer vehicle models cut the odds of ejections by half, in some cases.