How Safe Is Your Back Seat?

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How Safe Is Your Back Seat?

Crash test dummies will finally be used to evaluate back seat car accident injury risks starting in 2019

How Safe Is Your Back Seat?

Back seat safety has long been overlooked by experts such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In fact, their 5-Star Safety Ratings Program—which many consumers rely on when shopping for new cars—currently includes ample information on front seat safety, but overlooks back seat passenger protection.

Fortunately, this is finally set to change. Starting in 2019, the NHTSA will begin placing crash test dummies in the rear seats of all the vehicles that it evaluates for the 5-Star Safety Ratings Program. This will help address two major safety concerns that have recently risen into the public eye:

Ride-Sharing Safety: With the rise of ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, more passengers are riding in back seats with greater frequency. Although some manufacturers have voluntarily added safety features such as seat belt pretensioners, seat belt airbags, and curtain airbags for their back seat passengers, many automakers have not. And without compulsory testing for rear seat safety, consumers have been left without the ability to easily compare back seat safety features among vehicles. By initiating this testing, the NHTSA will give consumers the power to better understand the risks they may be taking by accepting a rear-seat ride in a given vehicle.

Child Car Seat Safety: The exclusive focus on front seat safety in crash testing may have led to changes that negatively impacted rear seat safety. For example, the NHTSA found that when front seats are too rigid, drivers and passengers are more prone to whiplash injuries in the event of a car accident. But when seats with a bit of give were introduced, this created a problem with seatback collapse, which presents significant risks to back seat passengers. In particular, children riding in rear-facing safety seats have suffered serious head injuries when the front seat collapsed into the back seat. The NHTSA has promised to test for this risk in their revised crash test program.

Have You Suffered a Back Seat Car Accident Injury?

If you or a loved one have been injured while riding in the back seat of a car, you may have several options for seeking compensation. For example, if the injury was caused by seatback collapse, the auto manufacturer could be liable. If the injury was caused by another driver’s negligence, that driver would be liable. To learn more about your rights and options following a car accident, please contact the Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 and request your free initial consultation.


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