A T-Bone collision occurs when a vehicle at a cross street collides with a vehicle going straight. T-Bone accidents sometimes occur when people are pulling out of driveways or parking lots but are an especially common type of car accident at intersections. When a vehicle hits the side of a car, there is little to absorb the impact, unlike when two cars strike head on and the front of each vehicle take some of the blow. Motorists in the car, children included, absorb the full momentum of the collision.
Parents need to do everything possible to protect kids and reduce injury risks. Safe Rides 4 Kids reports five deaths and approximately 60 injuries in an average year among children under age four in T-Bone accidents. Parents can take steps to try to protect these vulnerable young people, as well as to protect other passengers and motorists on the road.
To prevent a T-Bone collision or reduce injury risks:
- Avoid entering an intersection until it is your turn and until you have looked to make sure traffic is clear. Never assume other driver is going to obey a traffic signal. Instead, watch and observe.
- Consider placing your child in the center of the rear seat when in the vehicle. Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine indicates most experts recommend the center placement because a child behind the driver's or passengers seat is up against the door and will be in closer proximity if a side impact collision occurs. Side impact crashes got the nickname T-Bone accidents because the shape of a T is formed, but often the striking car hits at the back side of a vehicle instead of the front side of a vehicle. A child in the back can be hit by the vehicle and door as the striking car intrudes.
- Use appropriate child restraints (car seats and seat belts, depending on a child's age). NY Times reports there are 3,308 children under four alive today despite involvement in 2009 motor vehicle collisions because of the use of child restraints.
- Parents count on car seats to work effectively; however, most crash tests focus on how well the car seats prevent child injuries in head-on accidents. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rule is being proposed to implement new crash test protocols and requirements for car seats designed for children weighing 40 pounds and under.
The new protocols will use specially-designed sleds to test car seats and see if they protect children in side-impact crashes. In particular, the goal is to ensure car seats prevent head, shoulder, and chest injuries by protecting these parts of a child after a T-bone accident.