Several months ago, we discussed how a common vehicle defect can put backseat passengers in danger. Seatback failures occur during front-end collisions, and cause front seats to fly backwards into backseat passengers. Unfortunately, this defect is most likely to put children in danger.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has decided to revise its crash-test program for 5-Star Safety Ratings. Under the revisions, crash test dummies (for the first time ever), would be used in backseats during front-impact tests.
The good news is that revised testing could lead to new rules and innovations that protect backseat passengers.
While NHTSA’s new rule is considered a step in the right direction, experts with the Center for Auto Safety claim it fails to address seatback failures. Specifically, NHTSA’s new rule does not address seat strength integrity and how children can be hurt by seatback failures during front-end collisions.
Experts claim at the very least, NHTSA should require updated warning labels on owner’s manuals so parents can be warned about possible dangers posed by seatback failures.
Members of Congress Call for Action on Seatback Failures
With more than 100 people killed or injured by seatback failures, federal lawmakers are getting involved. Sens. Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal are sending a letter to 19 automakers demanding answers on seatback failures. Both senators also want to see NHTSA take action on seatbelt failures.
Congressional attention to this matter could become another avenue for updating seat strength requirements, which have remained untouched since the late 1960s.
You read that correctly – federal regulators have not touched seat strength rules for almost five decades.
Seat strength requirements set the amount of force front car seats can sustain before collapsing backwards. If car seats were required to withstand more force from car accidents, seatback failures would become much less likely.
The Wyoming and Colorado personal injury attorneys at Metier Law Firm can help hold negligent companies accountable.