AP IMPACT: Sturdier cars slow rescuers
And an excerpt:
Capt. Clint Roberts makes his living cutting accident victims out of hideously mangled vehicles, but even he could hardly believe it when two people in a 2007 midsize car survived a head-on crash with a full-sized pickup last year.
The Ford Fusion’s reinforced steel construction probably saved the lives of the 18-year-old driver and his 16-year-old passenger. But Roberts said it gave his Hillsborough County Fire Rescue crew fits as they tried to free them last November.
Because hydraulic cutters couldn’t shear the roof posts, rescue workers had to turn to heavy-duty electric saws, replacing blade after blade as they dulled on the rugged material.
“It was just beating the snot out of the tools,” adding minutes and delaying medical treatment, Roberts said.
There is no question that today’s cars save lives by cocooning motorists in reinforced alloys, impact-absorbing crumple zones and as many as a dozen air bags.
But in interviews with The Associated Press, rescue officials and experts from around the United States said the new technology is also hindering extrication of injured people, increasingly forcing crews to work deeper into the critical “golden hour” between accident and treatment by emergency room doctors. On many 2005 and later cars, an extrication that once took 10 or 15 minutes can now take twice that or longer.
So, people who never would have survived a crash are now surviving, but it takes longer to get them out. And the impact on lives?
Experts cannot say for certain whether the delays in getting these victims to the hospital have resulted in people dying. But that’s the fear.
Number of deaths–probably zero. And the nightmare scenario of all this?. They make cars even safer:
“If the automakers roll out something new next year, we could be right back where we were at,” Craft said. “That’s the problem we’re confronted with.”
The conclusion of the story above, which shows just how off this article is:
The Fusion’s passenger, for example, was hurt but conscious and joking with Roberts as the crew worked to get him out. The driver of the other vehicle — a 2001 Ford F-150 pickup — was dead at the scene.
Yes, but I bet they got the dead guy out in record time.