Whether you are a passenger in a car or are driving with passengers, it is important to know that not sitting upright can lead to more serious injuries if a car accident occurs. Passengers who choose to recline or ride with their feet on the dashboard are putting themselves in a very dangerous position.
Minor Fender Benders
Even in minor fender benders, the position of the passenger can result in serious injuries. This is because when not sitting properly (a) the seatbelt becomes less effective, and (b) the passenger could be dangerously positioned when the airbag is triggered.
Feet on Dashboard
Sitting with your feet on the dashboard is dangerous for a number of reasons. First, it is dangerous as the feet are positioned on the airbags. When the airbags are released from even a minor impact, the release of the airbags can cause a number of injuries from minor burns to serious fractures. Second, the impact can force the legs up into the body. This can not only cause serious fractures to the legs, but can also result in serious injuries to the face, chest, and other areas based on the position of the body at the time of impact.
These injuries can be avoided if the passenger is seated upright with their feet on the floor.
Although passenger seats are designed to recline, driving in this position is not advised. During an auto accident, being in a reclined position can mean that the seatbelt is less effective, leading to more serious injuries.
Although concerns about the safety of a reclined passenger seat have been raised since the 1980s, little was done about it. Since this time the resulting injuries for passengers in a reclined position have helped illustrate the dangers, according to a study conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board.
Although a warning has been added to drivers’ manuals, further efforts on behalf of the car industry have not been made.
Lawsuits against car companies in relation to reclining car seats have resulted in major settlements including a $12.9 million award from Ford and a $59 million verdict against Toyota. Houston Personal injury lawyer Charles J. Argento & Associates offers solid legal advice to those injured in vehicle accidents and can assist you and your loved ones should the injury have occurred while the victim was in a reclined position.