While numerous improvements have been made in vehicle safety over recent decades, certain vehicle occupants will always face risks. Serious accidents caused by the negligence of other drivers will likely impact everyone in the car, but passengers in the backseat face a far greater risk for serious injuries - and even death.
Safety improvements have historically focused on the front of the vehicle - and rightfully so. Protecting the driver has always been paramount. Recent improvements have also been geared toward those riding in the front passenger seat. Technological advancements in seat belts, air bags and structural crumple zones designed to absorb the impact of a collision have made vehicles safer than they have been in the past. A recent study, however, highlighted the danger that those in the backseat face.
A recent report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) highlighted the danger that backseat passengers face. Looking at data collected from 2007 to 2012, the IIHS found that adults were overrepresented in serious injury and fatality statistics. Part of the issue lies in the use of seatbelt restraints. In their statistics, the IIHS noted that only 70 percent of 20-54 year-olds and 86 percent of people 55 years and older were restrained at the time of the accident. This compares with 99 percent of infants, 96 percent of 4 to 8 year-olds and 93 percent of 9 to 12 year-olds.
Troubling is the fact that belted adults age 55 and older had a higher relative risk of death when seated in the back as compared with the front. Clearly, there is more that needs to be done. Even with curtain airbags that protect passengers in the event of a side-impact collision, there is nothing to protect backseat passengers from the front.
If you were in a vehicle collision, discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney who can explain your legal options for monetary compensation.