Researchers and safety advocates in Minnesota are working to draw attention to the risks faced by rear seat passengers in a car accident. Many safety technologies have been developed in recent decades, including airbags and automatically tightening seat belts. However, while these devices save a significant number of lives and have made cars safer than at any time in the past, they are largely confined to the front seat. Some of the most common rear seat safety standards have not been updated in nearly 50 years despite the massive advances in automotive technology since that time.

At the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, researchers stressed the importance of buckling up. They noted that many more people are using the rear seats of passenger cars, especially as ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft become more common. However, passengers are much less likely to use their seat belts in a rideshare vehicle than they are in a private car. Still, researchers noted that buckling up does not eliminate the risk to rear seat passengers in a car accident. They studied 117 collisions in which people in the back were seriously injured or killed in front-end crashes. People in the back may face even more injuries in rear-end or side-impact accidents.

In addition, the Center for Auto Safety said that the government and car manufacturers should be doing more to keep rear seat passengers safe. The executive director said that while safety improvements have come to automobiles’ front seats, government agencies have failed to mandate enhancements to the rear seat as well.

Many catastrophic motor vehicle collisions are caused by dangerous, distracted or negligent driving. People suffering severe injuries due to an avoidable crash may consult with a personal injury lawyer about how they can pursue compensation for their lost wages, medical bills and other losses.