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Are SUV passenger seats dangerous?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently disclosed that front seat passengers are still in greater danger of suffering injury or death in a collision than their driver counterparts. The battery of tests conducted by the IIHS were aimed at determining the front seat passenger safety of a number of late model sport utility vehicles.

Many of the SUV's tested received good safety ratings for their driver-side impact results, but the front seat passenger side impact results were not as encouraging. The "crackup" testing involved a 40-mph simulated crash meant to be roughly equivalent to the kind of impact a front seat passenger may experience if an SUV were to swerve into a tree or light pole. In some cases, the side impact tore off the passenger side door, ejecting test dummies not wearing seat belts.

IIHS recognized that their tests were more severe than federal crash test standards, but crashes of such impact and speed are extremely common. The organization concluded that in many cases, adding a few millimeters of material thickness to the cab could reduce these risks significantly. The passenger side seat has seen great increases in crash safety in recent years, but still remains a relatively dangerous place to ride, especially without a seat belt. In 2014, nearly 1,600 front seat passengers were killed in automobile accidents.

Injury or death can occur in a car accident no matter where you are seated or what safety precautions you take. For those who have been injured in a car accident, the representation of an experienced attorney can help ensure that your rights are protected while you pursue fair compensation for your losses.

Source: CBS News, "Front-seat passengers in small SUVs face more injury risk than drivers," Ed Leefeldt, accessed July 20, 2016

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