IIHS: Rear Occupant Safety Lacking

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 of vehicles.

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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