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What Auto Accident Victims Should Know About Seat Back Failures

When you went shopping for a car, you may have looked at the safety ratings and did your homework – trying to find the best and safest car for your family in your price range. This is especially important when you have small children, as you want to protect them as best as possible in the event of a crash. However, it may shock you that even cars with five-star safety ratings aren’t as safe as you would probably imagine.

Sadly, there are some vehicles that have problems with their car seats breaking and collapsing in certain wrecks. For example, in rear-end collisions, a car seat can collapse and break upon impact, sending the back part of the car seat into the back seat. What’s sad about this is that innocent children in the back seat – where the government recommends they sit – can suffer traumatic injuries.

An Example of the Damage Seat Back Failures Can Cause

The Warner family told CBS News that they bought a 2010 Honda Odyssey – a car “we thought was the safest thing we could get for our family to protect them,” but it didn’t do that. Sadly, they were rear-ended when the driver’s seat back broke after collapsing upon impact and struck their 16-month-old daughter in the face. Taylor, their daughter, was in her car seat in the back seat behind her father who was driving, and was killed as a result of being struck by the car seat back that was launched into her face.

What’s shocking is that car seats can break in motor vehicle accidents; however, most consumers are unaware of this fact and wouldn’t even expect them to break – especially in a car that has a five-star safety rating. But according to CBS News, almost all American and Japanese automakers have seen similar seat back failure cases in crashes. Terrifying to say the least, but seat back failures occur every day in auto accidents says auto crash expert Alan Cantor, who was interviewed by CBS News.

Why Are Car Seats Failing?

According to Cantor, the federal standards are so low. This is why almost all car seats meet or exceed federal requirements. The test to pass the federal standard involves putting a brace across a seat, attaching it to winch and pulling. What’s shocking is that car manufacturers are aware of the low standards and have known about seat failures for a number of years. However, they don’t want to do anything to improve them due to cost. In fact, one General Motors engineer being deposed in 1996 said strengthening them would cost “on the order of a dollar or so.”

The Consequences of Seat Back Failures

Because paralysis and fatalities can occur when seat backs fail, it is a huge concern that you would think car manufacturers and the government would be as concerned about. Because the seat standard is inadequate, advocates have been trying to get the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to require stronger seats to help protect consumers. However, nothing has been done about it to date, and the seat standards are over 30-years-old. In fact, NHTSA does even require a test for seat strength; however, they have required an upgrade for the head restraint standard that has taken effect in newer cars from 2011 and newer.

What’s scary is that consumers don’t know if they have a strong seat or a weak seat in their vehicles. And the sad reality is that nine children have been killed as a result of seat back failures, according to a CBS News investigation.
If your child or family member was injured or killed as a result of a seat back failure in a car accident in South Florida, you need to learn about your legal rights and have someone advocating for you against the auto manufacturer. Please call the Law Offices of David Benenfeld at 866-9 HELP NOW or 866-943-5766 to speak with an experienced accident attorney in a free consultation today and learn how to hold the manufacturer liable.

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