Rear-seat safety has been neglected since the 1990s, which is why Oklahoma residents may want to think twice about sitting in the back seat of a car. The discrepancy between rear and front seat safety, though, is due to recent improvements in front seat safety rather than any decline in rear-seat safety.
Nonetheless, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is clear: Rear seats are a danger zone for several reasons. They do not come with forward airbags or side curtain airbags to keep occupants from hitting hard surfaces. Their seat belts also lack force limiters, which can prevent the belt from cinching up too tightly against the occupant if a crash occurs.
Another issue is rear-seat passengers risk hitting their heads against the passenger in front of them. This happens as a result of the front seat collapsing. A collapsing front seat in a 2005 Audi A4 was what led to one boy incurring brain damage. Audi had to pay the family $125 million in compensatory damages for that incident.
When it comes to putting children in the back, parents should follow state laws on rear-facing child seats. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends put children in these seats for as long as they can fit in them.
Most car accidents are caused by the negligence of one of the drivers. A collapsing front seat back or another defect may implicate the automaker, too, which means that victims who intend to seek compensation will have a complicated case on their hands. This is where a case assessment from a lawyer may come in handy. An attorney may bring in experts to gather evidence of negligence, negotiating for a settlement out of court once the case is ready. Victims may litigate if negotiations fail.