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Minivan Safety Isn’t What You Think it Is


There are some vehicles that we drive, that we just assume are safe. That assumption may not actually be based on any fact or reality, but we just have a sense that one type of vehicle is safer than another kind.

The “Safe” Minivan

This is the case with the minivan. Designed and marketed for families, the minivan has become the symbol of family safety. It’s the kind of car you, as a responsible parent, buys to ensure that the family is safe.

Except it turns out, that safe van may not be quite as safe as you thought it was.

Recent studies show that not only are the most popular minivans not nearly as safe as people believe they are, but the occupants who may be most at risk in a minivan—those in the back seats—may be the ones in greatest risk.

New Tests, New Dummies

For a long time, minivans were tested with crash test dummies that were sized like adults. But realizing that minivans are often used to transport children, the tests changed, and began to use dummies that were sized more along the typical sizes of children. When they did that, the test results changed.

Poor Test Results

In testing, which was done using frontal impact tests, crash test dummies are supposed to remain seat belted, thus preventing them from impacting any part of the interior of the vehicle. But when smaller sized dummies were used, tests showed that many of the dummies sank underneath the seatbelt. If they didn’t sink under it, they certainly were not restrained by it; many passengers’ heads ended up striking the interior of the van.

This can have disastrous results. Passengers’ heads can get caught in the seat belt, and that’s exactly what happened to some of the dummies that were tested.

If the belts did property restrain passengers, they did so in a dangerous way. Smaller dummies ended up sustaining serious chest injuries, caused by the poorly fitting or too tight seat belts. In fact, many dummies in all model vans sustained injury caused by seat belts that were simply too right,

It wasn’t just the seat belts that malfunctioned—some vans’ side and back seat airbags didn’t deploy at all on impact.

Front Gets Better, Back Gets Worse

It may not be that the back seats of minivans have become less safe at all—the deficiencies may just be highlighted by the increase in safety measures in front seats (in all cars, not just vans).

Back seat passengers still don’t have the safety features that front seat passengers do. And those safety features may be very “one size fits all,” and thus, may not take into account the size and physiology of the younger passengers in back seats.

Contact the Tampa personal injury lawyers at Barbas, Nunez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian and schedule a consultation today for a free consultation. If you have been injured in any kind of minivan accident.


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