Front vs. Back Seats: Which is Safer?

Do you have childhood memories of counting down the days until you were old enough to sit in the front seat of your parent’s car? Or of calling “shotgun” when cruising around with your friends? The front seat of a car is a coveted place, for everyone from kids hoping to graduate from a booster seat or adults who are aiming for a little extra leg room. And now, it seems that front seat fans might be on to something! According to a recent study, the front seat might be the safest place to be during a car crash.

New Study With Surprising Results

The study, released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), analyzed 117 fatal car accidents to determine the safety differences between the front and back seat. Surprisingly, they found that passengers in the backseat are far more likely to sustain serious injuries in a head-on collision. Considering that the back seat has always seemed like the safer area, especially for children, these new findings are a bit shocking.

However, the president of the IIHS is quick to point out that it’s not necessarily that the back seat is dangerous. It’s that the front seat has become safer. Traditionally, the front seat has posed some unique dangers, including injuries from airbag deployment during a collision. But recognizing these concerns, vehicle manufacturers have taken steps to make the front seat safer. This has included adding new technology like collision warnings, automatic emergency breaking, and stability control. Safety measures like these have made the front seat a much safer place. While the front seat has seen great improvements, the backseat remains the same as always. This means it does not airbags or other measures to protect passengers during a crash.

How Technology Impacts Accidents

The IIHS study also found that in most of the analyzed crashes, serious and fatal injuries could have likely been avoided through improved design and safety equipment. They also found that in some of the crashes, seatbelts actually did more harm than good for backseat passengers, highlighting the need for safety improvements. These findings show just how important vehicle design is, and how manufacturers can take responsible steps to keep people safe on the roads.

Safety Tips For You

Whether you prefer the front of back seat, here are some safety tips to help you and your family:

  • Keep an eye out for any vehicle recalls
  • Make sure that booster seats and car seats are properly installed
  • Have everyone in the vehicle wear a seatbelt, and ensure that it is being worn properly
  • When buying a car, ask about its safety features
  • Know about yours car features and technology, and make sure you know how to safely and properly use it
  • As always, follow all the rules of the road and never drive while drunk or distracted!

What do you think about these new findings from the IIHS? Does it change your mind about the safety of the backseat?


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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