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Moving back-seat passenger safety to the front burner

Federal regulators have historically focused their safety-improvement research on front-seat passengers.

Obviously there are real limits to this approach. After all, cars often have back-seat passengers. And some of those passengers are children, including children in car seats.

This focus on the front seat is finally changing. In this post, we will address some common questions about this.

What is changing - and when?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will reportedly begin safety testing in 2019 for rear seats. This will involve putting crash-test dummies in those seats for the first time.

Why the change?

It appears that the widespread popularity of Lyft, Uber and other ride-sharing services has been influential in making safety regulators more aware of back-seat passengers.

In ride-sharing services, passengers generally occupy the rear seats. These services have been tremendously popular and are still on the upswing.

Have automakers taken any action on their own to improve rear-seat safety?

Yes. Some carmakers have added various safety features to rear seats. These features have included curtain airbags as well as seat belt-based airbags. But these features have been purely voluntary, and federal safety regulators have never tested their effectiveness.

What about child car seats?

NHTSA researchers have become concerned that changes in the construction of front seats may have increased the risk of injury to children in car seats.

This is because when front seats have been made more flexible, so that their rigidity doesn't cause whiplash in a collision. When front seats are more flexible, however, they can more easily collapse - and hit a child who is in a rear car seat.

Your situation

Research on improving car safety is important because car accidents remain such a big problem in Ohio and across the nation. Accidents caused by distracted driving and other negligent conduct claim far too many lives and result too many serious injuries.

If such an accident has harmed you or someone in your family, it makes sense to discuss your situation with an experienced personal injury attorney.

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