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Rear Seat Occupants Continue to be at Risk for Crash Injuries

Car designs of the recent past have focused greatly on improving the safety of front seat occupants.  Such safety improvements have led to better restraint systems, seat-belts, and airbags.  Advanced seat belt systems and airbags now make it easier for front seat passengers and drivers to escape serious injuries or death in the event of an accident.

However, rear seat passengers have not been as lucky.  Protections for passengers in the back seat have not kept up with the pace of other car safety improvements.  For instance, side airbags are present to protect back seat passengers in a side crash, but there are no front airbags for these passengers as there are for front seat riders.  Similarly, seat belts in the back seat usually do not have the same tension capacity as front seat belts. The result is that rear-seat passengers continue to be at risk of serious injuries in accidents.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently analyzed more than 100 crashes where rear seat occupants were seriously injured or killed. They found that the most common injuries to back seat passengers were injuries to the chest. This was the most common cause of serious injury or fatality to back seat passengers, regardless of whether they were adults or children.

They also found that many of these injuries and deaths were preventable, mainly through the use of more effective restraint systems. The seat belt systems did not perform as optimally as front seat systems in protecting these passengers. On further analysis, the researchers also concluded that most of these chest injuries occurred as a result of excessive pressure placed by the shoulder belt.

The researchers believe that inflatable seat belts could possibly help way in relieving some of the force or pressure, and prevent these chest injuries in rear seat passengers. Automakers like Mercedes have already introduced these types of seat belts. Force limiters, which are commonly available for front seat occupants, could also help.

Automakers must use the results of these tests to invest in newer technologies for back seat occupant protection.  Back seat airbag technology, for instance, is another possible innovation that could help prevent back seat occupant injuries and deaths.  Airings have been credited with saving thousands of lives in accidents since they became standard features in automobiles, and they could do the same for rear seat occupants as well.

Being injured in a car accident can be devastating. You have to get medical care for yourself and other passengers in your car. You must also begin the process of filing a claim with your insurance company. If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by the negligence of another driver, you may have grounds for a claim against the other driver.  Your claim could help you recover compensation for your losses, including medical expenses, lost income, lost earning capacity and pain and suffering another other damages. Talk to an Atlanta car accident lawyer at the Katz Law Firm to find out if you are eligible to file a claim for damages.