Could Your Child be Hurt by Seatback Failure?
A relatively unknown danger could be putting your child in danger: seatback failure. One hundred incidents across the country have been discovered where children in the back seat were killed in crashes in which the vehicle’s front seats broke and struck them.
In a collision, a vehicle’s front seats can break. The seat is propelled to the rear of the vehicle, striking passengers sitting in rear seats. Seatback failure has the potential to injure front seat passengers, too. Hundreds of devastating injuries have resulted.
A Texas jury recently awarded a family $124.5 million dollars after the driver’s seat in their Audi sedan broke off during a rear-end collision, striking their child and causing catastrophic injuries.
The Center for Auto Safety reports that over the past 15 years, 898 back seat-riding children have died in rear-end accidents. A Denver news agency identified 100 lawsuits in which a child’s death was attributed to seatback failure. Documented cases have occurred in vehicles made by nearly all auto brands popular in the U.S., including Ford, Honda, Toyota, Chrysler, Chevrolet, Dodge, Jeep and Hyundai, to name a few.
Lacking Safety Standards
The current federal standards for the safety of vehicle seats have been in place since 1971, which many say are ineffective and require updating. In current safety tests, seats are pulled backward by a wench. If the seat does not break off, it passes the test.
Some claim that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and automakers have known of the problem for decades and have neglected to address the deadly problem that would be a minimal expense to correct.