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Are third-row seats in SUVs safe?

For parents with large families, adding a third row to SUVs holding up to eight passengers was welcome news. No longer did moms and dads have to own and drive two vehicles to transport their respective broods, not to mention equipment necessary for athletic events.

However, does convenience and fuel savings have non-financial consequences?

Testing is lacking

Data regarding the risks passengers face in third-row seats are lacking. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced that they would be using crash test dummies in third seats to document the possible impact on passengers. However, those analyses will analyze front-end collisions, not those from rear-end crashes.

For now, proactive steps can be taken by drivers, particularly those with children. Those include:

  • Purchasing appropriate car seats based on children’s exact age, height, and weight
  • Ensuring that the car seat is securely installed and the child is properly harnessed
  • Making sure that older children are wearing properly fitting seat belts
  • Verifying that head restraints are correctly fitted and as close to the back of the child’s head as possible

Earlier this year, Car and Driver conducted multiple tests combined with hours of driving to rank the top 13 SUVs and mid-size crossovers. Kia Telluride came in first while the Nissan Pathfinder occupied the last-place ranking.

Motor vehicle manufacturers continue their evolution, whether it involves technology or the number of rows that can be fit into a car. In the end, safety must come first to ensure safe travel for customers and their family members. When they fall short, or a negligent driver collides with another vehicle, legal help is necessary to protect rights and secure justice in the form of compensation.