For years, sitting in the backseat of a car was considered less risky than sitting in the front seat. However, over the years, front seats have gotten safer as technology for these occupants has improved, while safety technology for backseat occupants has lagged.
From smarter seat-belts to better airbags, occupants of the front seats now have a variety of features that are specifically designed to help reduce their risk of an injury in an accident. However, there has been comparatively little progress made in helping reduce the risk of injuries to backseat occupants. Therefore, the old adage that sitting in the backseat can help keep you safer in an accident, may not hold true.
Crash testing only makes use of front seat dummies. That means that most of the advancements that have been made over the past decade in occupant safety have primarily focused on safety for front seat passengers, traditionally believed to be at a high risk of injuries in an accident.
Additionally, while seat-belt use is mandated for front seat passengers it is not for backseat passengers in many states. Indiana, for example has a law that requires all passengers in a car, including backseat occupants, to buckle up while driving. That means a lower risk of injuries when the car is involved in an accident. However, many states only require front seat occupants to buckle up.
Interestingly, while the backseat has become more dangerous for adults, it still remains the safest place for children. Children below the age of 12 account for approximately 50% of all passengers in the backseat, but only 22% of fatalities. Children, who are riding in the backseat have a much higher chance of surviving an accident, compared to those who are either not restrained or riding in the front seat. If your child is below 12, he should not be riding in the front seat at all, but should be buckled in, or restrained in the backseat.
If you were injured in a car accident, call our Indiana personal injury lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy, LLP to discuss filing a claim for compensation.