A new crash test, conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), revealed poor ratings for all small cars tested.
In all five vehicles tested, the rear dummy submarine under the seat belt, causing the lap belt to slide from the hip bones to the abdomen, increasing the potential for internal injuries. .
While rear seats still offer the best protection for small children because they are more easily injured by airbags, adults continue to have an increased risk of internal injuries.
Although front seat safety has improved with better airbags and seat belts, back seat safety has not seen the same improvement.
Speaking about the safety organization’s updated moderate overlap front crash test, IIHS President David Harkey explained that during the crash tests “the rear dummy ‘submerged’ under the seat belt, causing the lap belt to ride up on the abdomen and increasing the risk of internal injuries.”
Of the five small cars tested, none earned a good rating for rear seat protection.
While all five small cars provide good front-seat protection, the measurements show that there is less risk of head or neck injuries for the Sentra driver.
For rear seat positions, two cars received an acceptable rating: the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla sedan. Aside from submerging the rear dummy, the acceptably rated Civic and Corolla generally provide adequate rear seat protection. In the Corolla, the head of the rear dummy also comes close to the front seat back, which increases the risk of head injuries.
The Kia Forte, Nissan Sentra and Subaru Crosstrek received a poor rating and measurements taken from the rear dummy also indicated a moderate or high risk of head, neck or chest injuries.
To get a good rating, there should not be an excessive risk of injury to the head, neck, chest, abdomen or legs, as recorded in the second row dummy.
According to the IIHS, the dummy must remain in the correct position during the crash without sliding forward under the lap belt, and the head must remain a safe distance from the front seat back and the rest inside the vehicle.
A pressure sensor on the back of the dummy’s torso measures when the shoulder belt is too high, which can lead to a less effective restraint system.
After research showed that fatal injuries are now higher for seatbelted rear passengers than those in the front, the IIHS launched the updated moderate overlap front crash test last year.
The updated test adds a dummy, the approximate size of a small girl or 12-year-old child, to the rear seat behind the driver to encourage manufacturers to improve rear seat protection. . The dummy in the driver’s seat represents a typical adult male.
IIHS researchers have also developed new criteria that focus on injuries most common to rear-seat passengers.
Unchanged from previous tests, the structure of the occupant compartment must still maintain sufficient survival space for the driver, while the measurements taken from the driver’s dummy must not show an excessive risk of injuries.
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