NHTSA Will Put Crash-Test Dummies in Backseats Thanks to Uber, Lyft
The automotive safety industry has come a long way since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) first introduced its current safety rating system for cars in 1978. Seat belts have become a mandatory safety requirement. Driver assistance technologies have practically exploded in popularity. And now, the NHTSA will be putting crash-test dummies in the rear seats during crash tests.
Beginning in 2019, the NHTSA plans on including backseat passengers in test cars. Why, do you ask? According to a report from Bloomberg, it’s because of the growing popularity of rideshare programs such as Uber and Lyft. Over the past few years, these types of rideshare programs have grown significantly becoming the main form of transportation for revelers, tourists, and people that just need to get around town. As analysts claim that these services will continue to grow in popularity, the NHTSA believes backseat safety in vehicles will become more and more important.
While the automotive world has become increasingly more advanced in regards to safety technologies, the safety of back seats has been sorely lacking in comparison to other advances. Currently, rear seats remain unoccupied during crash tests, making them less safe than front seats. Carmakers mostly rely on seat belts and the structure of the rear seats to protect occupants, rather than more safety-oriented features like airbags.
“People assume a 5-star rating extends to all seating locations, but it doesn’t,” said Kristy Arbogast, engineering director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “The back seat hasn’t kept up.”
Many advocates for safer backseats say air bags should be used more in the back seat, along with upgraded seatbelts that act like the ones in front seats, which tightened during abrupt speed changes. Advocates also believe that we need to encourage more passengers to buckle their seat belts when sitting in the back.
Hopefully, NHTSA’s move to put crash-test dummies in the backseat will allow for more advanced technologies in backseats across the industry.
News Source: Bloomberg