Vehicle safety focusing on third row

October 19, 2011 12:00 AM

Automakers are paying more attention to the safety of occupants in the third row of seating in their vehicles, designing new safety systems to protect these passengers.

Once somewhat barren in terms of safety features, major automakers have added features to the third row of seating. Ford launched their inflatable seat belts two years ago, which protect passengers in the back of the vehicle, reports Last month, General Motors added an airbag to their SUVs that deploys from the second row to protect those in the back row.

There still isn't much data on whether or not the features are effective, reports the news source. Fatalities are low for occupants in the third row of seating, mainly because it is typically unused.

"We haven't seen any major advantage to the airbags that some automakers are putting in to protect the knees of drivers," Russ Rader, spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, told the news source. "But innovations like GM's center-seat airbag could make a significant difference to reducing the risks to people in crashes. The good news about all of this is that automakers are competing on safety, and they want to be seen as leaders."

Buying a safe vehicle for your family is obviously important, but keeping up with auto maintenance is equally critical. Ensuring that your brakes and tires are in working order is key to avoiding crashes and reducing the risk to passengers in your vehicle. 

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