Some sobering news from Ft. Lauderdale car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky, contrary to popular belief, rear seat car passengers may actually be at a greater risk of being seriously or even dying as compared to someone sitting as a passenger in the front seat when a Ft. Lauderdale car accident happens. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, who conducted the study, the primary reason for the greater likelihood for rear-seat passengers being seriously injured in head-on collisions is that back seats do not provide the same level of passenger protection as provided to front seat passengers when a car accident happens.
Examples of the differences between front and rear seat vehicle accident protections include poorly designed rear seat, seat belts, which actually subject rear-seat passengers to dangers which against which front seat passengers are protected in car accidents. While front seats have seat belt pre-tensioners, which act to engage a seat belt before a crash happens, while at the same time providing the occupant with room to lessen a potential injury, those systems are not as prominent or efficient for back seat passengers when a Miami car accident happens.
The Institute’s study involved a detailed reviewed more than one hundred deadly car accidents, those in which teenagers and adults were actually using rear-seat safety belts. The results demonstrated that many rear-seat passengers suffered serious and deadly chest injuries in car crashes due to safety belts which were not adequately designed to prevent serious injuries. In some cases, back-seat passengers suffered chest injuries from belts which were too tight. In other car crashes, the rear-seat passengers sadly struck their heads against the seat back in front of them, resulting in serious head injuries including concussions. The institute recommended car manufacturers consider installing airbags on the back of front seats, so as to offer another level of protection for rear seat passengers; no such technology is installed in any vehicle at this time, although some car makers have installed inflatable seat-belts.
These findings should not cause rear-seat passengers to stop using seat belts. In fact, more driver education is needed to remind everyone in a car to use a seat belt. Unbelted rear seat occupants are likely to become projectiles in a head-on collision, likely to be thrown into the front part of a vehicle, even striking the front windshield. Further, despite the study’s findings, experts still recommend that all children and babies are seated Iin the back seat, properly strapped into either rear-facing car seats or safety boosters, as front seat airbags pose a significant risk of injury to them.
We at the Miami Personal Injury Law offices of Joseph Lipsky agree that given the rise of rear-seat occupants, particularly with the rapid increase of passengers using ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, that greater attention needs to be paid to the safety of back seat occupants. Any efforts by car manufacturers to save lives and prevent serious injuries, especially to those who think they are safer riding in the rear of a car, we welcome.