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TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM/CBS NEWS) – Auto safety experts are demanding action on what they call a serious safety defect. The move comes days after a Texas jury awarded more than a $124.5 million to a family and took a stance against one automaker for a problem car companies admit would only cost a couple of dollars to fix.
Crash test videos obtained during the course of a CBS News investigation show how when cars are hit from behind, the front driver and passenger seats of many vehicles can collapse backwards, launching the occupants into the backseat area.
For years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has told parents the safest place to put children is in the backseat. Cases of apparent seatback failure reviewed by CBS News show, while drivers can also suffer catastrophic injury, children in the backseat are suffering the worst of the injuries, even death.
It happens in an instant.
Eleven-year-old Jesse Rivera, Jr. is living with the consequences of a seatback failure. He was sitting behind his father in the backseat of his family’s Audi A4 Quattro when it was rear-ended in San Antonio in 2012.
We’re constantly told to put children in the back seat,” said Jesse Rivera, Sr., “but you just don’t know that this danger is there.”
The driver’s seat Jesse Sr. was sitting in broke, launching him backward and head first into his son, who was 7-years-old at the time of the accident. Both were taken to the hospital. As the elder Rivera was being treated in the emergency room, his wife, Kathy, told him of their son’s condition.
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