NHTSA looks to improve rear-seat safety image

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will start testing cars with crash-test dummies on the back seats from 2019.

The regulators alongside the automakers have always made efforts to increase passengers’ safety, especially for those riding in front. However, safety measures for back seats have not undergone huge improvement leaps and NHTSA plans to address this situation by putting test dummies in the back as part of agency’s 5-star safety ratings program starting from 2019. “People assume a 5-star rating extends to all seating locations, but it doesn’t,” Kristy Arbogast, engineering director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told to Bloomberg. “The back seat hasn’t kept up.” While the automakers do have to meet certain side impact standards for the rear seat and cars sold in the United States have curtain airbags, there are still many safety features that could be enforced as standard, such as side-impact airbags or simple seat-belt pre-tensioners for rear passengers.

“I don’t think it’s malicious, it’s just expensive,” The National Transportation Safety Board Member Bella Dinh-Zarr said about the industry’s lagging attention to the back seat. But, first of all, rear passengers have to start protect themselves by putting the seatbelt, said Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which includes members such as General Motors, Ford and Toyota.

Via Bloomberg