Seat Back Failure During Accidents
One of the most preventable causes of serious injuries, sometimes even death, of small children in the back seat, is front seat back failure. If you are not familiar with it, it is when the front seat on either side of the vehicle snaps or breaks in half during an accident causing the person in that seat to be flung back harming the passengers, usually children, behind them. On numerous occasions, the breaking of seats has been noted throughout accident reports and documents accident claims. The video below demonstrates what can occur when the front seat breaks and slams into the back seat:
Real Life Example of Child Injured During Accident
In a 2016 case in Texas, in which a jury awarded a $124.5 million verdict against Audi parent corporation Volkswagen. Specifically in that case, a car accident in which the driver’s seat broke allowing the father’s body to be hurled at his 7 year old son in the back seat, causing partial paralysis, partial blindness and permanent brain damage. Audi’s response: The backseat was designed so someone in the backseat would support the front seat with his knees. Seems ignorant when you consider that most passengers in the back seat of vehicles are children younger than 10.
National Highway Safety Traffic Administration and Auto Makers Aware of the Default
Even more disturbing is the fact that both the NHSTA and Auto Manufacturers are aware that the problem occurs. Neither have taken measured steps to prevent these types of injuries from occurring. In fact, the NHSTA has publicly stated that this type of accident is very rare and so they have no urgent need to address it. (CBSNews.com) Through independent investigations and reviewing court cases, CBS News discovered over a 100 cases in which a severe injury or even death of a child was directly caused by seat malfunction. In fact, it was noted that 17 children have died in the past 15 years as a direct result of this preventable danger.
Small Cost to Fix Big Auto Injury Problem
In order to address the issues, some auto manufacturers took the added steps (which one engineer is quoted as saying that it would cost under a dollar to do) to ensure that their seats are more safe, among those are Mercedes Benz, BMW and Volvo. The small fix in these vehicles have possibly prevented hundreds of thousands of dollars in injury costs and could be saving lives every day.
Recommended to Place Children Behind Empty Seats to Prevent Broken Seat Injuries
To address the issue without the assistance of government regulators or some auto manufacturers, safety experts recommend that you place your child in a car seat, but behind an empty seat if possible. We encourage the NHSTA and the Auto Manufacturers to work towards a better solution for this issue. It will happen again, and a child will be seriously injured. If you are so inclined, contact your Congressional representatives and ask them to take a look at this issue before it is too late and another senseless death is entered into the books.
Accident Lawyers Increasing Auto Safety
Although court cases in the past have forced some manufacturers to address a portion of issues with seats during accidents, we have a long way to go. If you are concerned that one case or one person cannot affect change in the industry, take a look at the ways attorneys and their clients have forced auto manufacturers to increase safety measures through the use of the court system here.
Source: CBSNews.com, NHSTA.gov