Crash dummies to take back seats to improve safety

Crash dummies to take back seats to improve safety image

Text: Aurick Go / Photos: NHTSA | posted May 26, 2016 12:31

New regulations require dummies to assess rear row safety

Often tasked with taking the front seats – and the subsequent blunt – during crashes, 'Dummies' will now have to be placed in the rear as well according to new regulations placed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Giving emphasis to a rising trend in ride-sharing, new regulations are underway to require more stringent testing of rear passenger safety. Led by companies such as Uber and Lyft, the move to make rear seats safer not only covers adult occupants, but children in child seats as well. By 2019, all manufacturers will be required to pass this criteria to merit 5-star marks for their vehicles. Since the program’s beginning in 1978, only the front seats were given a star rating from the criteria of the NHTSA.

"People assume a 5-star rating extends to all seating locations, but it doesn’t," said Kristy Arbogast, engineering director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. "The back seat hasn’t kept up."

Advocates of this movement implore automakers to make better use of rear airbags, improving rear seat belts with speed tensioners such as those in front, and further education on buckling up when occupying the rear seats.