Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A Car's Middle Back Seat May Be Least Desirable, but It's the Safest

29.06.2006
In a full car, some poor soul is relegated to the middle of the back seat, the least desirable, most uncomfortable, most "un-cool" spot in the vehicle.

It also happens to be the safest.

University at Buffalo researchers studied all auto crashes involving a fatality in the U.S. between 2000 and 2003 where someone occupied the rear middle-seat.

They found that occupants of the back seat are 59 percent to 86 percent safer than passengers in the front seat and that, in the back seat, the person in the middle is 25 percent safer than other back-seat passengers.

"After controlling for factors such as restraint use, vehicle type, vehicle weight, occupant age, weather and light conditions, air-bag deployment, drug results and fatalities per crash, the rear middle seat is still 16 percent safer than any other seat in the vehicle," said Dietrich Jehle, M.D., UB associate professor of emergency medicine and lead author on the study.

Results of the study were presented at the May meeting of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine in San Francisco, Calif.

Jehle and colleagues at the Center for Transportation Injury Research (CenTIR), conducted a retrospective cohort study of fatal crashes in which there were rear-seat occupants and at least one fatality in the vehicle. CenTIR is headquartered in the Erie County Medical Center and is affiliated with the Calspan UB Research Center (CUBRC).

The data was obtained from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The study involved two different sets of fatal crash data. Researchers first analyzed a special class of car crashes in which there were occupants in the front seat and in the middle of the back seat. Fatal crashes in which there was no occupant in the rear middle seat were excluded. This class of crashes involved 27,098 occupants. Researchers compared survival rates of front-seat versus back-seat positions.

The second data set compared survival rates of back-seat occupants only in crashes in which there was at least one fatality. The middle-seat group contained 5,707 occupants, while the "outboard" or window-seat group had 27,611 occupants, for a total of 33,318 back-seat passengers.

The fatality rate for the rear middle-seat occupant then was compared to that of the window-seat positions.

The analysis produced some revealing statistics, aside from the issue of the safest place to be sitting during a crash. The average age of the 33,318 rear seat passengers was 20 years, while middle back-seat passengers were only 15.4 years on average.

Nearly half of the passengers in the back seat -- 46.9 percent -- were not wearing seat belts, results showed, and of these unrestrained passengers, 34.6 percent were fatally injured, compared to only 14.9 percent of seat-belt wearers.

In general, back-seat passengers who wore seat belts were 2.4 to 3.2 times more likely to survive a crash than their unbelted back-seat companions.

One reason the rear middle seat is the safest, Jehle noted, is because passengers sitting in this position have a much larger "crush zone" than rear side-seat passengers in near-side impact crashes. The crush zone is an area of the car designed to collapse in an effort to absorb some of the impact from a collision.

"In addition, in rollover crashes there is potentially less rotational force exerted on the middle seat passenger than on those in the window seats," he said.

"This study reinforces the importance of using seat belts in the back seat, as well as demonstrating that the rear middle seat is the safest," stated Jehle. "Legislation to require rear-seat belt use by all passengers should be strongly supported."

Also contributing to the research were James Mayrose, Ph.D., UB research associate professor of emergency medicine and mechanical and aerospace engineering, and Aruna Priya, a doctoral student in biostatistics.

The research was supported in part by a grant from the Federal Highway Administration awarded to CenTIR.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York.

Lois Baker | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.buffalo.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

Im Focus: New nanomaterial can extract hydrogen fuel from seawater

Hybrid material converts more sunlight and can weather seawater's harsh conditions

It's possible to produce hydrogen to power fuel cells by extracting the gas from seawater, but the electricity required to do it makes the process costly. UCF...

Im Focus: Small collisions make big impact on Mercury's thin atmosphere

Mercury, our smallest planetary neighbor, has very little to call an atmosphere, but it does have a strange weather pattern: morning micro-meteor showers.

Recent modeling along with previously published results from NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft -- short for Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

Conference Week RRR2017 on Renewable Resources from Wet and Rewetted Peatlands

28.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A single photon reveals quantum entanglement of 16 million atoms

16.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The melting ice makes the sea around Greenland less saline

16.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

On the generation of solar spicules and Alfvenic waves

16.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>