The cars we drive today are nothing like the ones we drove in the past, in more ways than one. Safety-wise, the advancements have been immense, and as we move forward fewer people get injured or killed as a result of car crashes.
Yet in-car safety is not the same for all a car’s passengers, a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found. And that’s because passengers in the front are far more protected than the ones in the rear, even in the event of a frontal collision.
According to the safety watchdog, under the scrutiny fell rear-seat injuries and fatalities that occurred in 2014, and the results show that even when wearing seatbelts in the rear passengers get injured and even killed in frontal crashes.
The IIHS blames this trend on the fact that safety systems for the front occupants have evolved constantly, while the ones for the people in the back have pretty much remained limited.
IIHS looked at 117 crashes in which rear-seat occupants were killed or seriously injured and found that the most common type of injury was to the chest, followed by head injuries. To blame for chest injuries appears to be excessive forces from the shoulder belt, while head injuries are caused by the passengers hitting parts of the vehicle’s interior.
"Manufacturers have put a lot of work into improving protection for drivers and front-seat passengers. Our moderate overlap front crash test and, more recently, our driver-side and passenger-side small overlap front tests are a big reason why," IIHS President David Harkey said in a statement.
"We hope a new evaluation will spur similar progress in the back seat."
The results of this study, alongside future ones, will be used by the organization to devise a new type of frontal crash test that will try to evaluate occupant protection in the rear as well.
The full details on the study and the proposed solutions can be found in the document attached below.