An updated safety test recently revealed surprising dangers for rear-seat passengers in smaller cars. The data may have parents wondering where their children should sit to maximize their safety in the event of a car accident. While the testing did highlight the need for improved safety measures in small cars, it did not change the overall safety picture for young passengers.
Rear-Seat Safety and the New Crash Rating System
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety assigns crash ratings for cars as a way to help safety-conscious drivers pick the right vehicle for their families. The IIHS recently updated the way they determine which cars perform best in a car accident. The updated test includes a tween-sized crash dummy in the rear seat, behind the driver.
The first round of testing involving a batch of smaller cars led to less than stellar results. Two models, the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla sedan earned “acceptable” ratings. Three models, the Nissan Sentra, Subaru Crosstrek, and Kia Forte earned “poor” ratings. All five models showed that passengers seated in the back were likely to slide under the seat belt (called “submarining”) and face a greater risk of internal injuries to the abdomen.
Are Backseats Getting More Dangerous?
Automakers have not suddenly decided to ignore the safety of backseat passengers. Instead, this is a case of rear seat safety lagging behind updated safety practices employed in front seats. Every new car is far safer than a car from a few decades back, but safety ratings compare new models against other new models.
Improvements in airbag technology and seat belt design have made front seat passengers safer than ever in head-on car crashes. But these advancements are impractical, impossible, or even unadvisable in back seats.
Airbags and Children in the Front Seat
Parents might naturally wonder if this testing suggests that kids should be moved to a front seat to experience these advanced safety features. The answer is no. Front air bags have improved outcomes for adult-sized drivers and passengers, but they actually pose a significant danger to smaller, lighter riders.
Air bags are carefully designed to inflate at the right speed and in the right place to protect a grown adult. For children, the rapidly expanding air bag can cause serious head and neck injuries and even lead to death. That’s why parents are advised to keep their children in rear seats until they are 13.
Call an Experienced Dallas Personal Injury Attorney Today
After a car or truck accident, it’s important to get the advice of a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer. At Ted B. Lyon &’ Associates, our Dallas team works tirelessly to protect the rights of accident victims. Call us today at 877-Ted-Lyon / 877-833-5966 or contact us online to discuss your situation.