Making the back seat a safer place to be
Ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft have dramatically changed the transportation landscape across America. As more people use these companies to get from place to place, people are sitting in the back seats of motor vehicles more than ever.
In response, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will begin putting crash test dummies in back seats when testing new cars. This initiative will begin in 2019 as part of the NHTSA’s 5-Star Safety Ratings Program.
Back seat safety technology has not kept pace with front seat safety technology
Many people are under the impression that a 5-Star Safety Rating applies to the front and back compartments of a vehicle. This is not the case. Presently, the 5-Star Safety Rating applies only to the front compartment. Safety advocates believe that automotive companies can do much more to enhance safety in the back seat. These measures include:
- Using back seat air bags more effectively
- Adding pre-tensioners to back seat belts
Pre-tensioners are sensors that react when there is a sudden decrease in speed or shift in direction. Pre-tensioners tighten the seat belt so occupants in the vehicle are fully restrained in an accident. Without pre-tensioners, people in the back seat are at risk to slide under a loose seat belt.
The NHTSA understands that pre-tensioners and enhanced rear air bag technology will be more expensive to auto companies. Auto companies have contended that increased seat belt use in the backseat is the single most important step to back seat safety. In fact, many taxi and ride-sharing passengers do not use seat belts regularly. According to New York City authorities, roughly half of taxi passengers do not wear seat belts. Awareness, combined with enhanced technology, could go a long way to making back seats a safer place to be.
Whether you were in the front seat or back seat, if you have been in a car accident, you need a skilled, experienced lawyer. I am Indianapolis personal injury attorney Steve Crell. With nearly 30 years of legal experience, I am a strong advocate for people who have been injured in motor vehicle crashes.
Source: Crash-Test Dummies Get In Back Seat To Make Uber Riders Safer, Bloomberg Technology, May 25, 2016, by Jeff Plungis