Higher injury risk for rear seat passengers

Written by Kanad Kalasur

IIHS to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released a new study. According to the study, the rear seat occupants are at a higher risk of injury compared to the front occupants.

What does the IIHS study reveal?

According to the IIHS study, the rear seat can be said to get higher risk for occupants as compared with the front seats. This is not because of any unsafe design, but for the simple fact that front seat safety features are not trickling down for the rear occupants.

The IIHS had 13 mid-size SUVs in the study. Amongst these, only four managed to pass the crash tests for the rear occupants. These crash tests were specifically designed for the testing of the safety systems in place for the rear passengers.

The report released also revealed some key findings. Amongst these, the main that stood out was the fact that many cars offered excellent protection for the driver but very few cars had similar levels of protection for the rear passengers.

In terms of numbers, rear occupants who have worn the seat belts have a 46 percent higher chance of fatal injury in post 2007 vehicles. This is a stark contrast to the development of safety systems for the front seats. IIHS further reiterated that they have updated their testing protocol after noticing this fact. Post new safety systems, many rear seats lag behind in terms of critical improvements.

New updated crash test for rear seat occupants

IIHS now uses a new test dummy. This new dummy accurately represents a 12-year old or a small woman. This will help the analysts to help determine how to avoid injuries seen on the back seat passengers.

Additionally, the car will get a good rating for the rear occupants only if the sensors in the dummy indicate good impact numbers. According to IIHS, the sensors should not report any excessive risk to head, neck, chest, abdomen or thigh. Further, paint and grease is applied on the head of the dummy to check if it hits the back of the front seat or any other interior part. The dummy should also not slide under the lap belt. The dummy also incorporates pressure sensors that measure the intensity of the belt on the chest area of the dummy. There too should reflect safe numbers.

Results of the new test on few American SUVs

IIHS tested 13 mid-size SUVs sold in the USA. Amongst these only 4 managed to pass the new crash test for the rear seat occupants. The cars which passed include the Ford Explorer, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Subaru Ascent and Tesla Model Y.
The other cars in the list of the tested vehicles include the Chevrolet Traverse, Toyota Highlander & Volkswagen Atlas. These secured a marginal result while the Honda Pilot, Hyundai Palisade, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Wrangler managed to get a poor rating.

Also Read – Honda patents two-wheeler crash detection system.