American Highway Safety Association Most small cars are unsafe for rear passengers

Most small cars unsafe for rear passengers American Highway Safety Association

【PhoneAuto News】The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the United States updated its moderate overlap front crash test last year, in which a car collided with a deformable aluminum barrier at a speed of 40 miles/hour (about 64 km/h) on the driver’s side front end only. After realizing that front seat passengers are much safer than rear seat passengers, IIHS updated the test to evaluate rear seat safety. Unfortunately, for small cars, the five models tested by IIHS did not perform well.

The five cars tested were the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Kia Forte, Nissan Sentra, and Subaru Crosstrek. Among these five cars, only the Civic and Corolla received an overall “acceptable” rating in the moderate overlap front crash test. The Forte, Sentra, and Crosstrek received a “poor” rating due to their rear crash test performance.

Why is sitting in the back seat of a small car much more dangerous than sitting in the front seat? The main reason is technology. Front seat passengers have better airbags and seat belt pretensioners. Rear passengers do not have airbags directly in front of them, which increases the risk of head and neck injuries, as they are more likely to hit the front seats with their faces. The lack of rear seat belt pretensioners can cause what IIHS calls “submarining,” where the passenger’s abdomen slides under the seat belt, causing abdominal injuries.

All five small cars’ crash test dummies experienced “submarining,” resulting in “poor” ratings for their rear restraints and kinematics. The Civic and Corolla received “good” ratings in the remaining categories of the rear seats: head and neck, chest, and thighs. Unfortunately, the Forte and Sentra received low ratings in the head and neck category, while the Crosstrek received a “marginal” rating.

Now IIHS has added a rear seat category in moderate overlap crash testing, which changes the overall rating of each vehicle. This could have a huge impact on customers’ car choices, especially for parents. However, it’s worth noting that IIHS claims that the back seat is still the safest place for children, even in small cars, because front airbags can harm them.

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