Parents in Florida and elsewhere are regularly warned to put their children in the back seat when driving. Unfortunately, however, seat defects may result in failures that could cause potentially serious injuries or death for those sitting in them at the time of accidents, as well as for the passengers seated behind them.
In some cases, the force of auto accidents may cause driver or passenger seats of various automobile models to collapse backward. This type of failure occurs most often when vehicles are struck from behind. Drivers and passengers seated in the failed seats are at risk of injuries, particularly head trauma, as they may be thrown into other people or objects in the vehicle when their seats break. Those seated behind them, however, are at the most significant risk for injury. They may be struck by the seatbacks, the drivers or passengers that were in the failed seats, or both.
As a result of seatback failures, vehicle occupants may suffer injuries, including fractures or broken bones, traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries, and death. According to a study published in the Annals of Advances in Automotive Medicine, children seated directly behind a seat back failure had a doubled injury risk as compared to those seated elsewhere at the time of a crash and subsequent seat collapse.
According to a CBSNews.com report, these auto defects occur, despite many of the failed seats meeting or exceeding the safety standards established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, a banquet chair passes as safe given the existing standards. While the NHTSA has looked into the danger of seatback collapses over the years, it determined that these types of accidents are too rare, making it difficult to upgrade the standard. For their part, however, some automakers, including BMW, Volvo and Mercedes Benz have taken it upon themselves to strengthen their seats above the standards to prevent this type of defect and the potential resulting injuries.