While vehicles have a number of different safety features, like seat belts, air bags and anti-lock brakes, these safety features don't guarantee a driver of passenger will not get injured in a car accident. In fact, depending on the type of crash, some of these features may not necessarily be able to protect a person at all.
According to a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, when it comes to front-end fatal accidents, roughly 25 percent are actually overlap accidents. This type of accident is not quite a head-on collision and is instead when the unprotected corner of a vehicle makes contact with another object. Often times these types of accidents lead to serious injuries or even death to the occupants of the vehicle.
Part of the reason the occupants are at risk for injury is due to the way many vehicles are built. Many times, during an overlap accident, the windshield pillars, dash and door are all pushed inside of the vehicle where people are seated. This means there is nothing really there to protect them.
When speaking of overlap accidents, the president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety compared a vehicle to shipping a fragile item. The stronger the box the less likely the fragile item will break upon shipping. In this regards, the same can be said about people. If during a crash the occupant compartment does not stay strong and breaks, there is more of a chance the person inside of that area will be injured.
Of course this isn't to say people are always injured in overlap accidents, rather this is just a type of accident that falls under the umbrella term of front-end accidents and can lead to injuries and fatalities.