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How safe are you in the back seat?

If you are noticing the prices of new cars going higher and higher, you are not alone. However, paying more for a new car means having a vehicle that has the most current and reliable safety features. Gone are the days when seatbelts were the only safety device in a vehicle, and at one point, they were optional for backseat passengers.

Now, the federal government sets high standards for automobile safety. With airbags, advanced restraints and other high-tech systems, your chances of surviving a crash improve. However, those odds seem to apply only if you are the driver or front-seat passenger.

Front seat safety

Most people ride in the front seat of a vehicle. In fact, it is possible that you may never sit in the back seat of your car. Because of this, the focus for improved safety has been the front of the vehicle. Car buyers, insurance providers and safety advocates have pushed car makers to develop safety features more sophisticated than lap belts, including:

  • Padding on the interior of the vehicle
  • More efficient seat belts to hold you in place during an accident
  • Laminated windshields to keep shards of glass from shattering onto you and your passengers
  • Airbags in multiple places instead of only the steering wheel and dashboard

These and other advancements have saved hundreds of thousands of lives, and the federal government continues to add new features to the list of those it mandates for all new vehicles.

Unfortunately, nearly 13% of fatalities in car crashes involve back seat passengers, and the most common safety features only protect you if you are in the front of the cabin. Recently, however, consumer advocates have started urging car makers to consider updating the safety levels for those behind the driver.

Why the sudden change in focus?

While you may not ride in the back of your own vehicle, more people in Kentucky and elsewhere are finding themselves sitting in the back seat of other cars. Ride-sharing continues to grow in popularity. You may call on an Uber or Lyft driver if you have been out drinking with friends, your car breaks down or public transportation is unavailable. Using a ride-sharing service usually means you sit in the back seat. If your ride-share driver has an accident, you may suffer serious injuries.

Despite the advanced features new cars may have, your safety is ultimately in the hands of other drivers, whether you are in the back seat of a ride-sharing vehicle or driving your own car. If you suffer injuries due to the negligent actions of another driver, you have the right to reach out for legal advice about your options.

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U.S.COURT OF APPEALS Fayette Country Bar Association KENTUCKY BAR ASSOCIATION | 1871 KENTUCKY JUSTICE ASSOCIATION UNITED STATES DISTRICK COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE | United States Of America

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