- In accidents
The risk of injury or death in a car accident depends on many factors. However, it can be argued that the driver’s seat is the safest seat for one reason—the person in that seat controls the car. Although most people would never intentionally hurt their passengers, at the moment before impact, pure instinctual self-preservation may kick in and cause the driver to do something that lessens the danger to themself but potentially expose their passengers to more risk.
Additionally, drivers may have a better view and be more aware of their side of the car. This may mean the driver is better able to avoid dangers on their side and less able to avoid hazards on the car’s passenger side.
The rear passenger seats may be more dangerous than the driver’s seat simply because rear passengers are less likely to wear their seatbelts than the driver is. There are a variety of factors that may contribute to this. One is the false perception that the back seats are safer than the front seat. This is not always true, and it is certainly not true if the rear passenger is not wearing a seatbelt. Another reason backseat passengers may be less likely to wear seatbelts is comfort. Backseat seatbelts are often less comfortable and less adjustable than front-seat seatbelts. After all, a driver is unlikely to purchase a car if they find the seatbelt uncomfortable or annoying. For this reason, it is a good idea for parents to take extra time to verify the fit and comfort of seatbelts for their children (or anyone likely to be a frequent passenger) before purchasing or leasing a car.
Additionally, rear passenger seats may be more dangerous than front seats because they do not have the same advanced features as the front seats. For example, backseats often do not have airbags in older vehicles. In addition, back seatbelts generally do not lock in dangerous situations as front-seat seatbelts do. Manufacturers have not put as much consideration into constantly improving back seat safety as they have with front seat safety.
The back seat is still safer for young children for the same reason the front is safer for adults—the airbag. Airbags have saved the lives of many adults, but they are often too powerful for small children and may cause more harm than good. Small children should be in a car seat until (at least) four years old and potentially up to age seven or eight, depending on their size. After that, children should be in a booster seat until they are approximately twelve and are big enough for a seatbelt to fit properly without a booster. Children should typically stay in backseats until they are full-grown.
Another factor to consider before deciding whether or not to buckle up is this unsettling fact—you are not only putting yourself at risk when you don’t buckle up. If you are thrown from your seat, you may collide with someone else in the car and cause severe injury to them. A study published in 2013 found that drivers were twice as likely to be fatally injured if the passenger behind them was not buckled in than if that passenger was buckled up.
Did you suffer a passenger seat injury? The car accident lawyers at Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates can explain your legal options. To schedule your initial case consultation, call 888-848-5084 or visit our website today.
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