When you drive, you probably climb into the driver’s seat without giving any thought to its inner workings. This makes sense, as you are not a structural engineer. Still, if the backs of your front seats are weak, your young passengers may be in grave danger.
According to reporting from CBS News, seatback collapses can be deadly for infants, toddlers and young children who sit in the backseat. Nevertheless, safety advocates have long claimed the backseat to be the safest spot for young passengers to ride.
What is the danger?
Your car’s seatbacks probably weigh 50 or more pounds. When you are sitting in the front seat, though, you likely add more than 100 pounds. If your seatback collapses, the combined weight of your body and your seat may be enough to crush any child who is sitting behind you.
Sadly, seatback collapses are not exactly uncommon in motor vehicle accidents. The risk is particularly severe in rear-end collisions, which are the most common type of accident on roadways in the U.S.
What caused the problem?
Until recently, automakers have had to comply with structural requirements that are decades old. To save money during production, your car’s manufacturer may only have done the bare minimum. That is, your car may have a wimpy mechanism holding its seatbacks upright.
As part of the comprehensive infrastructure package the president recently signed into law, automakers must now address the issue. Nevertheless, if your car is more than a year old, it may be vulnerable to a seatback failure.
Ultimately, if your child suffers a serious injury or dies because of a seatback collapse, you may have a direct route to seeking substantial financial compensation.