Backseat May Not Be as Safe as You ThinkJuly 3, 2019
For years, it has always been assumed that the backseat is the safest place to be in the event of a car accident, since the front seat passengers experience most of the force of impact in a frontal crash. The mere fact that backseat passengers are farther away from the force of the crash means that they are at an advantage. However, that may not be the case, according to new research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Advances in seat belt technology for front seats have occurred much more quickly compared to seat belt technology in the backseat. As a result, in vehicles that have more sophisticated front seat belts, the front seat may be the safest place for passengers.
According to researchers, one of the main reasons why rear seat belts are not as safe as front seat belts is that most rear seat belts do not have load limiters, which allows the belts to tighten up when sensors detect a crash, and to loosen up if the belt is so tight that it could cause an injury. A study conducted by the IIHS and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that, in frontal crashes, rear seat belts that do not have load limiters can cause a range of serious injuries, including chest, abdominal, and spine injuries. According to one of the researchers involved in the study, after investigating crashes that caused serious, or fatal injuries to 117 backseat occupants between the ages of six and 92, they found a significant amount of chest force on all occupants, regardless of age.
Rear Seat Belt Technology Needs to Keep Up with Trends
There are several reasons why it is so important for improvements to be made to rear seat belts. For example, older adults who are no longer driving may be more likely to ride in the back seat. In addition, passengers of ridesharing services, such as Uber and Lyft, generally tend to sit in the backseat. This will have a significant impact on the safety of backseat passengers if the ridesharing vehicle does not have seat belts with load limiters.
Until recently, it made sense for car manufacturers to make front seat safety a priority, since the occupants in the front seat experience most of the impact from a crash. Automakers also focused primarily on front seat safety because the backseat was often unoccupied. In addition, the cost of upgrading backseat safety equipment was an issue, according to a research professor at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Center.
Researchers agree, however, that the backseat is still the safest place for children under the age of 13. They have different injury patterns and mechanisms compared to adult passengers. Coming up with the ideal solution for backseat safety is complicated. One possible option is a seat belt that inflates like an airbag, but it has not received positive feedback from customers. Automakers are investigating other options as the safety technology continues to evolve.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Backseat Passengers Injured in Car Accidents
If you were injured in a car accident, and you were riding in the backseat, contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will guide you through the claims process and secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.