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!
Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland
Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences