While parents in Missouri and Illinois are told to have young children sit in the back seats of their vehicles, back seat passengers are also at risk in motor vehicle accidents. Research conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety looked at injury rates for back seat passengers involved in head-on collisions. However, little research has been conducted about injuries to back seat passengers in rear collisions. Parents should take some steps to protect children riding in the back seats of their vehicles.
Study on back seat passenger injuries and fatalities
In 2019, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a study on how people riding in the back seats of vehicles fared in frontal collisions. They found that passengers riding in the back seats of vehicles were likelier to suffer more severe injuries than people riding in the front seats.
In crash tests, the front seat belts automatically tighten while side and front airbags deploy. However, the back seats of many vehicles do not have the same types of safety technology. The IIHS reviewed data from 117 front-end motor vehicle accidents in which the back seat passengers were injured or killed while wearing seatbelts. The researchers found that chest injuries were the most common type of injury to back seat passengers. Among the 37 fatalities, 18 involved head injuries.
Steps to increase safety for back seat passengers
Parents who place their children in the back seats of their vehicles should make sure that they have car seats that are appropriate for their child’s age, height and weight. They should make sure that their children always remain seated and securely buckled in. The seat belts should be placed correctly with the shoulder belt over the collarbone and the lap belt across the person’s hips. Adults who ride in the back seat should also always remain seat-belted while they ride in vehicles.
People who sustain serious injuries in motor vehicle accidents while riding as passengers may want to talk to an experienced personal injury attorney about their legal options. Depending on who was at fault, an injured passenger might be able to file a claim against both drivers. An attorney might help people by analyzing their accidents and assisting them with pursuing compensation for their losses.