Seat Back Failure Takes the National Stage

Over the past few years, several instances of front car seats failing during collisions have severely injured and even killed children riding in back seats, usually sitting behind a parent operating the vehicle. Audi was recently found liable in a Texas court to the tune of over $100 when, during a rear end collision, a seat failed causing a father to rock back slamming his head into the head of his son. The young boy was left severely brain damaged. Though neither father nor son were wearing a seatbelt when riding in their family’s 2005 Audi A4 that day, other accidents and trial test have shown that the wearing of a seatbelt does not seem to affect the results in these cases one way or another to any great degree.

What is at the core of the problem appears to be a $2 part that could easily be installed in new vehicles from car manufacturers worldwide. Why haven’t these parts been an issue until now? Well, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not seen enough evidence to take action. However, their standards are so low for seat back strength that, in some cases, tests showed that common office and banquet chairs showed more strength of resistance than that of a vehicle seat from numerous manufacturers. In short, car makers have been meeting these low safety standards the entire time, despite failure rates.

When it comes to regulations and legislation, as small business owners, we are rarely in favor of the government inserting itself into industries so as to “solve problems.” However, it would be preferred if they could do the job that they have already been tasked to do. Setting safety standards that make sense would be a good start. And for car makers, please spend the extra two bucks if you know it can save the lives of young passengers.



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