IIHS: Rear Occupant Safety Lacking

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April 26, 2019—A new IIHS study of frontal crashes in which belted rear-seat passengers were killed or seriously injured suggests that more sophisticated restraint systems are needed in the back o vehicles.

Front-seat occupants have benefited greatly from advancements in restraints — the umbrella term for air bags and seat belts, which work together during a crash to keep a person in the proper position and manage forces on the body. Back-seat occupants haven't benefited from this technology to the same extent.

IIHS first looked at rear-seat injuries and fatalities in 2014. Failing to buckle up was a big factor, but many older adults and children over age 9 suffered injuries even when belted.

The new study takes a closer look at the specific types of injuries belted back-seat passengers age 6 or older sustained in front crashes. IIHS is using the information to develop a new front crash test that will evaluate occupant protection in the rear as well as the front. The Institute is currently conducting a series of research crash tests as part of this project.


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