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Should Auto Manufacturers Focus on Backseat Passenger Safety?

Published on Nov 14, 2019 at 7:07 pm in Car Accidents.

Brown leather back seat of cars

Over time, cars have become safer and safer. A lot of safety measures have been implemented throughout the whole vehicle, but the majority of auto manufacturers focus on safety in the front seat. Should they start focusing on back-seat passenger safety to even it out and make the entire vehicle safe?

The inclination to upgrade safety features for the front seat is natural since it’s usually a more dangerous place to sit in the event of an accident. As Consumer Reports notes, on average, just under 20,000 front-seat passengers die each year in auto accidents. Comparatively, about 2,000 back-seat passengers die in crashes. Though that number is only a fraction of front seat deaths, it could always be lowered.

That’s all assuming back seat passengers will wear their seat belts, though. According to Ohio law, only front-seat drivers and passengers are required to wear a seat belt at all times, meaning that back-seat passengers are not legally required to wear a seat belt. In some accidents, wearing a seat belt can be the difference between life and death. If safety features in the back seat are increased, passengers should opt to use them to their full advantage.

Study Finds Backseat Less Safe in Frontal Collisions

Not buckling up is a huge problem in the back seat, but even passengers who wear their seat belts can suffer serious injuries. A recent study done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that better restraints are needed in the back seats. In this study, researchers found that most back-seat passengers are hurt more severely than front-seat passengers when the car is in a collision.

Federal law states that front seats must have frontal airbags, but it doesn’t mention back-seat passengers. This same study found that the seat belts used in the back seats can actually cause injury and death in the event of a serious collision. Head injuries from crashes are also a concern because they were one of the most common injuries sustained by back-seat occupants in crashes, second only to chest injuries.

According to NBC News, back seats usually don’t have front airbags, so passengers can hit the seat in front of them in the aftermath of a car accident. Compared to the front seat, back seat seat belts don’t automatically lock when a crash begins, so the seat belt allows passengers to move more than they should. They also don’t use force limiters in the back seat, so seat belts can crush the passenger’s chest.

To combat these findings, some manufacturers, like Ford and Mercedes-Benz, have embedded airbags into seat belts so that they inflate upon impact. But this is only one step toward increasing safety for back-seat passengers in the event of a car accident.

Bey & Associates, LLC Can Help

After a car wreck, your whole life could be different. You might have to deal with doctor visits, medical bills, and unpaid time off work. All of that can be physically, emotionally, and financially debilitating, but you shouldn’t have to go through it all alone. At Bey & Associates, LLC, we can help you through the challenge of recovery by legally representing you in your claim. Our Cincinnati car accident lawyer is dedicated to getting you justice for your injuries. Contact us today so that we can review your case.