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Improving Back Seat Safety Would Save Lives

Regulators are working to improve the safety of backseat passengers. While automakers have made major advances in the past decade, very few apply to those riding in the back seat. As a result, a San Diego rear-end crash can result in devastating injuries.

The first step to making the backseat safer is to test current models. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will begin testing dummies in back seats in new models as part of its 5-Star Safety Ratings Program in 2019. To date, the program, which started in 1978, has only measured safety for drivers and front seat passengers.

“People assume a 5-star rating extends to all seating locations, but it doesn’t,” said Kristy Arbogast, engineering director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “The back seat hasn’t kept up.”

Advocates also want automakers to make back seat safety a priority. They argue that manufacturers should increase the use of air bags in the back, redesign seatbelts so they tighten during sudden speed changes like those in the front seat, and conduct awareness campaigns to encourage seatbelt use by rear passengers.

While children are still safer riding in the back, regulators are also concerned about injuries caused by seat collapse, which can occur when the front seat injures the occupant sitting behind it in a crash. Children are particularly at risk. As detailed by Bloomberg, a 16-month old Texas girl was killed when another minivan rear-ended her parents’ minivan at 55 miles per hour. The front seat collapsed and struck her in the head.

Safety advocates are also concerned about the increase in back seat passengers given the popularity of ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft. When not riding in their own vehicles, passengers are less likely to buckle up, which also compounds the risk of injury.

If you or someone you care about has suffered serious injury in a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation. After a serious California crash, we can advocate on your behalf to help hold the negligent parties accountable for their actions and seek the compensation you deserve.