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Is the back seat still safer in a crash?

For a long time, conventional wisdom said you were safer riding in the back seat of a car -- where many young children are still supposed to ride -- if there was an accident. Is it still true?

It can be, but experts warn that things are changing. While the front is still dangerous for young kids, it can sometimes be safer for adults.

The reason the back seat used to be so safe was simple: In a head-on crash, you had extra space. You were also thrown forward into the back of a seat, which was relatively soft compared to the steering wheel, the windshield or the dashboard.

The change, though, is due to improvements in safety. The front seats now often have multiple airbags to make sure people don't hit those hard contact points. The cars themselves have crumple zones so that all of the energy doesn't transfer into the frame and the passengers.

While a lot of progress has been made in these areas, some experts warn that the same emphasis has not been put on making the back seats any safer. They have stayed closer to the same over the years.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. One study found that 88 percent of passengers wind up riding in the front passenger seat. Additionally, there are many drivers who use their cars alone, despite having five or six seats available. With such a high percentage of occupants in the front, that's where the safety officials have had to focus. Still, it does beg the question of whether or not more could be done for those back-seat passengers.

Have you been injured in a car accident, or has a child been hurt in the back seat? Make sure you know your legal rights to compensation.

Source: CBS News, "In car crashes, backseat can be more dangerous than the front," Kate Gibson, accessed Sep. 07, 2017

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