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Are back-seat passengers safe traveling in small SUVs?

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

If a road collision occurs, are rear passengers in a vehicle just as safe as occupants in the front seat? Recent studies hint that they are not as a widening gap continues regarding the protection provided to front- and back-seat passengers.

In its recent crash tests involving 15 small SUVs, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that back-seat passengers likely would sustain more severe injuries than passengers seated in the front. Since the backseat often contains the most vulnerable occupants such as children and elderly adults, these findings should alarm anyone.

Only 2 of 15 received a ‘good’ rating

The IIHS has long contended that better restraint systems are needed on the backs of motor vehicles. Its recent crash tests support this argument.

Only two of the SUVs — Volvo XC40 and the Ford Escape – received an overall “good” rating for their protection of back-seat occupants. Nine of the 15 received a “poor” rating due to the potential injury risk to the passengers.

Higher risk of injury and death

Through its tests, the IIHS determined that rear passengers in these vehicles had a higher risk of sustaining head, neck, chest and abdominal injuries.

It noted that since 2007, automakers have added advanced seat belts and airbags in the front seats but neglected to do the same for the rear seats. As a result, the study found that belted passengers in the rear seats have a 46% higher chance of fatal injuries than passengers in the front.

Parents expect safety

Parents must consider the potential ramifications of a collision involving a small SUV.

After all, these parents have relied on these vehicles to transport their teens, tweens, young grade schoolers and toddlers. They expect safe travels and do not have to cope with serious injuries that may lead to wrongful death.

A mark on the auto industry

These findings are shameful for the auto industry. Neglecting to address the safety of all vehicle passengers must not happen. As a result of automaker inaction, many more people traveling U.S. roads are sustaining severe and fatal injuries.