Warning is only the tip of the iceberg: CAS petitions NHTSA to warn parents of back seat dangers

Children vulnerable while in back seats Center for Auto Safety asks NHTSA to issue Warning to Parents: Center for Auto Safety Rear Seat Petition

We request that the agency modify its child seating recommendations by adding the following or similar warning language and that such language be required in Owner’s Manuals under 49 CFR § 571.208 S4.5.1(f):

If Possible, Children Should Be Placed In Rear Seating Positions Behind Unoccupied Front Seats. In Rear-End Crashes, the Backs of Occupied Front Seats Are Prone To Collapse Under the Weight of Their Occupants. If This Occurs, the Seat Backs and Their Occupants Can Strike Children in Rear Seats and Cause Severe or Fatal Injuries

Until cars on the American highway are equipped with adequately strong front seats and seatbacks, children in rear seats behind occupied front seats will continue to be in danger of death or severe injury from front seatback failures in rear-end impacts. For this reason the Center for Auto Safety today petitions for action by the agency to warn parents of this danger and how to avoid it when possible. Separately, the Center is filing a detailed analysis of police reports and lawsuits that shows the dangers of seat back collapse are far greater than what the agency recognizes because seat back collapse is not captured by the FARS database on which the agency has relied for all too long to deny there is a seatback collapse danger.

This is admittedly an interim measure which is made necessary by the continued absence of a federal motor vehicle safety standard requiring that cars be equipped with adequately protective front seats, but it is essential. The agency can take most of the requested steps on its own, without time-consuming rulemaking, and should do so promptly.


Clarence M. Ditlow Executive Director

cc: Secretary of Transportation

As a mom of nine children (although they are now all adults), this is of great concern to me on behalf of those who don’t have an option of picking a “safer” spot to seat their young children. This warning is not enough; lives are at stake!

Another case of the need for presidential Vision Zero action to end unconscionable, unimaginable, and unethical delays in implementing traffic safety measures!

Tell Obama you are standing with us in this: “Family Continues Fight for Trucking Safety”

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