Just about everyone has an opinion. Could where you were seated at the time of a car crash impact your injuries? Is one seat safer than the other?
There are a number of studies that analyze occupant seating and the risks associated with it. Obviously, it is important to wear safety restraints at all times. Could that coupled with where you sit lessen your chances for serious injuries?
Motor Vehicle Occupant Seating and Injuries
We’ve all heard the term “death seat” referencing the front passenger seat. Is this indeed true? According to a news report, technology has allowed for major safety improvements primarily focused on front seat vehicle occupants. There is some concern that not enough is being done to ensure passenger safety in the rear of cars, SUVs and vans.
The best way to check the safety within motor vehicles is through research and facts. Let’s look at some statistical data put together by the Texas Department of Transportation. They reviewed information collected from Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Reports for the year 2015. Here’s what they found:
- Fatal Accidents: There were 3,531 fatal motor vehicle accidents. The greatest percentage of those killed in car crashes were the drivers themselves. It is unknown if some of the drivers were alone in the motor vehicle accidents or accompanied by passengers.
Of the remaining fatalities, 379 victims were seated in the front passenger seat by the window. Seven occupied the front center seat. Approximately 275 people were killed while travelling in the back seat of a motor vehicle. The number of fatalities for rear passenger victims was almost equal between the right and left side. A lesser number died when seated in the rear middle seat or third row of a larger vehicle.
- Incapacitating Injuries from Motor Vehicle Wrecks: A little over 17,000 individuals sustained incapacitating injuries as a result of motor vehicle wrecks. 65% of those seriously injured were the vehicle drivers. Once again, we are unable to determine if the drivers were travelling with others at the time of the accident.
As far as the passengers, 14% of the total vehicle occupants with incapacitating injuries were seated in the front passenger seat. Those seated behind them were injured slightly more than those seated behind the driver.
What does this mean? These statistics could be skewed, as they could mean that less people travel in the rear seat. Other research suggests that children are always safer in the back seat. The same may not be true for adults.