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Are passengers at a higher risk of injury than drivers?

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2024 | Car accidents

When you ride a car as a passenger, you may not consider the risks you face compared to the driver. The reality is you are just as vulnerable as the person behind the wheel. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), passengers could actually be at a higher risk of injury than drivers. However, it depends on multiple factors.

Location of impact

Your risk of injury can significantly depend on the point of impact. Passengers sitting on the side of the vehicle collision often suffer more severe injuries because they get the full force of the crash.

Safety features

Drivers have the steering wheel and often the dashboard to brace against in an accident, passengers might not have the same level of protection, especially in certain seating positions. While airbags can provide protection in the event of a crash, they can also be a source of injury for passengers. Additionally, passengers seated at the back of the vehicle will not have the protection from airbags.

Seat belt use

Passengers, particularly those in the back seat, are less likely to wear seat belts, increasing the risk of injury in a crash. The number of fatalities of unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants has risen annually since 2018, reaching 11,813 in 2021. Therefore, always remember to fasten your seatbelt no matter where you are sitting in a car.

Lack of control

As a passenger, you have limited control over your surroundings and are at the mercy of the driver. You may be more vulnerable to injury if the driver loses control of the vehicle after a collision.

Types of Injuries

Passengers are more likely to suffer certain types of injuries, such as head and neck injuries, internal injuries and soft tissue injuries. These can be more difficult to diagnose and treat than injuries suffered by drivers.

If you have suffered injuries as a passenger occupant after a crash, it is best to seek medical attention immediately. Because you are a passenger, the likelihood of you causing the collision is low. Texas follows a fault-based system and the party who caused the accident should also be your source of compensation for the damages you have suffered.