CBS News recently investigated whether car seats are as safe as we assume them to be. The results of the investigation were shocking. When the front seat collapses in a collision, passengers in the back—often children in car seats—can be seriously or fatally injured. As a result of this investigation, federal lawmakers sent a letter to a group of 19 automakers, demanding answers about seat back failures and the fatalities that they have caused.
Seat Back Failures
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), children should never be placed in the front seat of a vehicle. The NHTSA has indicated that certain areas of the back seat are safer for children, and promised to set forth a document with guidelines outlining these locations.
Seat back collapses often happen in rear-end collisions, when the front seat occupant is launched into the back of the vehicle. Since 1989, over 100 people, mostly small children, have been seriously or fatally injured in seat back failure incidents. One auto company engineer testified that that this problem can be solved for only a dollar or so per seat.
According to Senators Markey and Blumenthal, the auto industry refused to fix these seat backs, resulting in recurring tragedies. They have also urged the NHTSA to take actions. They liken the situation to what happened with airbags. The industry had been on notice of problems for years, yet the NHTSA did nothing and many people lost their lives. With seat back collapses, NHTSA and automakers have known about the problem for decades.
Despite the low cost to fix the problem, automakers have no incentive to take action. This is because seats currently meet or exceed federal standards for seat strength. These standards are so low, that a banquet chair passes the test for seat strength. The NHTSA has not spurred change, claiming that it does not have data to support making the changes.
Congresswoman Diane DeGette has pointed out that 100 people fatally injured over a 20-year period may not be significant, but every one of their lives matters. Especially when we consider that preventing these fatalities would have only cost one dollar more per seat.
Chester County Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Seek Compensation for Victims Injured by Defective Products
You have probably heard about car parts or components being recalled for safety reasons. This is because things go wrong. In an effort to cut costs, manufacturers sometimes send defective products into the stream of commerce. If you have been injured, and suspect a defective product is to blame, the experienced Chester County auto defect lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC have the experience needed to make that determination. We can help you fight to recover compensation for your injuries and pain and suffering. To discuss your case, call us at 215-569-8488 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. With offices located in Philadelphia, Media, and Abington, Pennsylvania, as well as Haddonfield, New Jersey, and Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the tri-state area.