With the present day evolution of transportation vehicles coupled with the steady use of transportation services, a shift towards focusing on the backseat car passenger’s safety is of the upmost concern. Transportation services and ride sharing applications, such as Uber or Lyft, have contributed to the necessary focus and advancement in back seat passenger safety. The emphasis of backseat safety is substantially due to the overall increase of backseat passengers that are becoming more and more popular in today’s society. In order to further progress in the area of backseat safety new testing techniques and standards are being put into place.
In the forefront of these safety testing techniques is the use of crash-test dummies in the backseats of vehicles during safety testing. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTSA) plans to use the backseat crash-test dummies as a means of furthering backseat safety procedures and collecting valuable safety data. Previously, the NTSA only used crash-test dummies in the driver and front passenger’s sides during safety testing.
Beginning in 2019, the NTSA plans to start using the backseat safety crash-dummies and the information gathered from the backseat safety crash-dummies as a part of their overall 5-Star Safety Ratings Program. This approach will allow for a new form of gauging the vehicle’s total safety, not only on the driver and front passenger areas as in the past safety testing strategies.
The 5-Star Safety Ratings Program has been in place for almost four decades, yet the program’s rating is solely based on the safety of measurements for the driver and passenger’s seats only, which may come to the surprise of many. The engineering director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has gone to explain that, “The back seat hasn’t kept up.” Also, the engineering director is quick to point out a common public misconception, “People assume a 5-star rating extends to all seating locations, but it doesn’t.”