Report: Seatback failures pose serious risk for rear seat passengers

According to a recent report, auto seats may collapse in rear-end collisions, putting the passengers in the rear seats at risk for serious injuries.

Motor vehicle accidents are all too common throughout South Texas, and the rest of the state. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, more than 17,000 people sustained serious injuries in auto collisions across the state in 2014 alone. Although there are regulations in place to improve safety for vehicle occupants, sometimes systems fail or are inadequate. In fact, it was recently reported that seatback failures may result in severe injuries or death for the drivers and passengers of vehicles that are involved in crashes.

Generally, it is suggested that children sit in the rear seats of automobiles until they are at least 13-years-old. These recommendations are aimed at limiting the severity of injuries that children might suffer if they are involved in motor vehicle collisions. Even when seated in the rear seats, however, CBS News recently reported that children may be at risk for sustaining potentially fatal injuries.

Car seat safety failures

According to a CBS News report, seatback failures pose a serious risk for the passengers who are sitting in rear seats. This is because the front seats of many vehicle models may collapse when the automobiles are involved in rear-end accidents. Due to these collapses, people who are sitting in the front seats may be thrown backward into the other vehicle occupants. This may cause severe injuries, including head trauma.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, has a strength standard in place for the seating systems installed in automobiles sold in the U.S. However, CBS News reports that this standard is set very low. Consequently, some banquet chairs may pass the NHTSA's strength test.

Resolving the issues

Recently, safety experts have pushed for the NHTSA to address this widespread safety defect. CBS News reported that during a deposition in a lawsuit involving a seatback failure lawsuit, an engineer testified that it would take about a dollar to strengthen automobile seats. The NHTSA has known about these inadequacies and the potential of seatback failures in motor vehicle accidents. The regulatory reportedly claims that it is difficult to update the standards, however, because these types of collisions are rare.

Consulting with an attorney

The injuries people in Texas, and elsewhere, suffer as a result of car crashes may have devastating consequences. For some, this leads to undue medical expenses and the need for lifelong care. When such injuries are caused due to a safety defect, however, the auto maker, as well as the at-fault driver, may be held liable for the resulting damages. Thus, people who have been involved in such auto accidents may benefit from seeking legal counsel. An attorney may help them understand their rights, in addition to their options for pursuing financial compensation.