The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is calling on car makers to improve back seat safety.
Only one mid-size car received a “good” rating for rear seat safety in recent crash tests.
The Honda Accord outperformed the six cars tested.
Simulating a partial head-on crash at 40 mph, the Accord received top safety marks for both front and rear occupants. That means there is no heightened risk of injuries to the head, neck, chest or thighs.
The Subaru Outback was the runner up. It earned an “acceptable” rating. Testing showed rear passengers had a tendency of passing under the rear lap belt.
Both the Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry received “marginal” ratings in the simulation.
The Hyundai Sonata, Kia K5, and the Volkswagen Jetta all received “poor” ratings.
The IIHS said it’s not because the back seat has become less safe but rather that the front seat has become safer because of improved airbags and advanced seat belts that are rarely available in back.
Even with these developments, the back seat remains the safest place for young children, who can be injured by an inflating front airbag.