Automakers increasingly tout the safety of their closely regulated and high-tech vehicles, often targeting families with younger, more vulnerable passengers. Advertisements show adoring parents buckling in small children, yet fail to acknowledge the fact that many backseat passengers face continual risk as a result of front seats too weak to avoid collapsing backwards, significantly harming the passenger directly behind them.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims the car’s safest place for children is in the backseat but frequently, this is not the case. Dangerously low seat standards, which have not been substantially updated since 1967,do not adequately protect automobile passengers.

Fixing seats to meet higher safety standards “would cost on the order of a dollar or so,” for automakers to accomplish per vehicle, claims one auto company engineer. 

However, auto manufacturers have failed to take the inexpensive steps necessary to protect back-seat passengers in cars. The Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) has information regarding 64 seat collapse lawsuits involving death or severe injury, 22 of which included children as the victims. Over 100 people, mostly children, have been killed since 1989 as a result of seat back failures—fatalities that could have been avoided had automakers complied with stricter industry standards to ensure stronger, and safer, seats

Despite the horror stories, despite the toddlers fatally injured as the seat in front of them careens backwards upon collision, despite 7-year-old, Jesse Riviera Jr., who suffered partial blindness and paralysis and permanent brain damage as a result of a seat-collapse, automakers have consistently avoided the barrage of complaints regarding this major safety flaw. 

Hurley McKenna & Mertz advocates for families and victims, like Jessie Riviera Jr. With more than 75 years of combined experience, our skilled Chicago motor vehicle accident attorneys can provide the skills, knowledge, and resources to help you and your loved ones pursue the compensation you deserve. Obtain dedicated and aggressive representation by calling 312-553-4900 to schedule your free consultation today.