It’s a common assumption that the back seat of a car is the safest place to be during a crash. Historically speaking, that assumption was spot on.
Now, due to technological advances and improvements to vehicle design, that concept of back seat safety has become outdated, according to NBC News.
The front seat prioritized over the back seat
According to a recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), you’re more likely to survive a serious crash when sitting in the front seat. This is not necessarily because the back seat has become less safe, but because the front seat has become a greater priority for safety improvements.
Front-seat occupants have become increasingly safer due to the synergistic effect of airbags and seatbelts. In addition, some of the front seat improvements that have become widespread include:
- Electronic stability control – designed to help drivers maintain steering control during conditions of poor traction.
- Forward collision warning – monitors the speed and distance between two cars and alerts drivers of collisions risks.
- Automatic braking – designed to automatically apply brakes in the event of an impending collision.
- Improved crumple zone – an area in the front of a car designed to absorb the impact of a frontal collision.
IIHS collected data from 117 frontal collisions in which back-seat occupants aged 6 or older died – despite wearing seatbelts. The organization backed up the data with its own crash tests. They found that fatal chest injuries commonly caused by seatbelts could be prevented with improvements to vehicle design and safety equipment.
Researchers also found that rear seatbelts are less likely to use pre-tensioners that automatically tighten up when a crash occurs. Moreover, rear seatbelts are less likely to use force limiters designed to stretch and reduce chest loads in a collision.
What can be done to protect back seat passengers?
While the IIHS offered no recommendations for back seat safety improvement, the organization is hopeful manufacturers will develop new safety technology and improve on back seat designs.
Whether involved in a crash caused by the driver of the car you were in or the driver of another car, passengers are not liable. If you’re a passenger who was injured in a crash, it’s crucial that you speak with an experienced Roanoke car accident attorney as soon as possible.
Even if the crash was caused by your driver, the attorneys at Davis, Davis, Davis & Davis, PC can help you maximize your compensation and resolve this matter without compromising your relationship with a friend or relative who may have been in control of the car.
Set up your free initial case evaluation by contacting us online today.