Many travelers do not realize that the seatbacks in their cars can pose a significant risk to them and their passengers. Rear seat passengers have been injured and killed in crashes because the backs of front seats collapsed onto them. CBS News did an in-depth report on the seatback failure, hiring auto crash expert Alan Cantor, who has been examining seatback failures since the 1980s. He says federal standards are so low that a banquet chair can meet the requirements. The cost to correct the problem costs less than the cost of your daily cup of coffee. Alan Cantor’s firm, ARCCA, a national forensic engineering firm, has recently petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to upgrade the standards for automotive seating to include a crash requirement for vehicular seating.
According to the CBS report, more than 1,000 people are killed and another 1,500 injured every year due to seatback failure. Seatback failure has the greatest risk of occurrence in rear-end collisions when a seatback collapses backwards in an accident. This causes several things to happen. First, a driver can lose control of the vehicle; second, the collapse can prevent the safety belt from properly restraining the passenger; and finally, the collapsed seat can trap, injure or kill passengers in the back seat.
NHTSA is being strongly urged to address this safety defect. Experts state that NHTSA standards fail to protect travelers from car seat fatalities. Until a correct is made, experts recommend placing children in rear seating positions behind unoccupied front seats.
If you suspect that seatback failure may be implicated in an accident involving you or a loved one, it is important to have someone watching out for your best interests. Immediately following an accident, it is important to have a professional, comprehensive report about the accident (often done by police). An independent expert, often an engineer, may be able to better evaluate the evidence to determine if seatback failure occurred during the accident.
Our law firm arranges for the analysis needed in product defect investigations. Over the years, we’ve developed and maintained a variety of top resources, including expert witnesses, medical testing and information services, investigators, researchers, an in-house staff of professionals, and we have the financial strength to see every case through to the end.
At Terrell • Hogan, we recognize the great responsibility to those who entrust their cases to us. We know that clients come to us at a very difficult time and rely on our expertise and guidance to help you through it. Consider having Terrell • Hogan represent you. Call (904) 722-2228.
“Killing children”: Congress takes action on danger of car seat backs