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IIHS: rear car seat safety lags behind front seats

Residents of Illinois who own a newer vehicle can see how safe the front seats have become. Many come with crash tensioners, which tighten the seat belt the moment a crash occurs, and force limiters, which unspool webbing from the seat belt to reduce the force of impact and prevent chest injuries. Some front seat belts are even designed to connect with the airbags.

As front seat safety improves, rear seat safety lags behind. Traditionally, rear seats have always been safer, so the issue is not that automakers have done anything to make them less safe. All the same, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and others are saying that automakers must add more of this life-saving technology to the rear.

The IIHS conducted a series of crash tests to make others aware of this discrepancy. Of the 117 crashes analyzed, all of which involved an injured or killed rear seat occupant, one third resulted in chest injuries. Of those who were fatally injured, 18 had suffered head injuries. These were the two most prominent injuries.

Rear seat safety poses several challenges, one of them being that almost anyone or anything may sit or be placed in the back: adults, children, pets and cargo. Improving safety is important because more rear seat occupants neglect their seat belts than do front seat occupants.

In the event that a rear seat passenger is injured at the hands of a negligent driver, he or she may be able to seek compensation. If the passenger failed to wear a seat belt or did anything else that could be considered negligent, the chances of succeeding with a claim do decrease. In this state, only those less than 50% at fault can file. Whatever the situation, the victim may want a lawyer to work on the case and handle settlement negotiations.