While cars have become much safer in recent decades, backseat passengers still remain at risk of serious injuries compared to front seat passengers. It is important to understand how sitting in the back seat can be dangerous and what you can do to protect yourself while sitting in the rear seats, especially in the event of a car accident.
Common Injuries Suffered by Backseat Passengers in Car Crashes
Unfortunately, surveys have found that many backseat passengers who are involved in auto accidents were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash. Since a seat belt is often a rear seat passenger’s only safety mechanism, these individuals can suffer a wide range of catastrophic injuries, including:
- Chest injuries, including broken ribs and punctured lungs
- Head injuries, including facial lacerations and eye injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage and internal bleeding
- Neck and back injuries, including whiplash and herniated spinal discs
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
Back seat passengers can be injured when they are sent flying into the seat back of the front seats, or if they hit their head or body on the passenger door or the roof. Passengers can also be injured if they are struck by objects in the cabin that are sent flying in an accident.
Why the Backseat Is More Dangerous Than the Front Seat
There are a couple of reasons why backseat passengers tend to suffer worse injuries in a car crash than front-seat passengers. First, backseat passengers are less likely to wear their seatbelts, either due to a false belief that the backseat is a safer place to ride than the front seat, or when extra passengers cram into the back seat or sit on each other’s laps. Rideshare passengers also tend to ride in the back seat and may not buckle up due to possible concerns about kidnapping, so that the passenger can quickly exit the vehicle if necessary.
Back seats are also more dangerous than the front seat because they lack many of the same safety technologies available in the front seat. For example, back seats tend to lack airbags. Only in recent years have vehicle manufacturers begun installing side curtain airbags in rear seats, and only a few cars on the market today have front airbags for rear seat passengers.
Finally, automakers have only recently begun crash safety testing for rear seat passengers, as historically government regulators have not required such testing.
Tips for Keeping Safe When Riding in the Backseat
The next time you ride in the back seat, you should keep these important safety tips in mind:
- Remember to wear your seat belt
- Stay in your seat; do not try to lay down across the rear bench
- The middle seat is the safest seat, unless the middle seat only comes with a lap seat belt, in which case it is better to sit in one of the outer seats
- Never seat more people in the back seat than there are seat belts
- Do not allow people to sit in each other’s laps
- Try to secure any loose objects that may be sent flying in a car crash
Contact a Perth Amboy Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a car accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at CourtLaw represent clients injured because of car accidents in Hoboken, New Brunswick, Perth Amboy, East Orange, and throughout New Jersey. Call (732) 442-5900 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 163 Market St., Perth Amboy, NJ 08861, as well as offices in New Brunswick, Roselle, East Orange, Jersey City, Elizabeth, Linden, Newark, Paterson, South Amboy, and Trenton.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.