CALIFORNIA, USA — New research shows minivans may not be as safe for passengers in the backseat.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found four popular models of minivan were unacceptable in regards to backseat passenger safety ratings.
“Many consumers choose minivans specifically to transport their families. So, it's disappointing that the automakers haven't focused more attention on backseat safety in this vehicle class,” said Jessica Jermakian, vice president of Vehicle Research of the institute. “Based on our most recent crash tests, minivans have room for improvement."
The Chrysler Pacifica, Kia Carnival and Toyota Sienna were rated “marginal” while the Honda Odyssey was rated “poor.”
"In this updated test, we're looking closely at the rear occupant, we want to see a low risk of injury and restraint systems that keep the occupant away from the vehicle," said Jermakian.
In newer vehicles, the risk of a deadly injury is now higher for people wearing seat belts in the second row than for people in front.
This is not because the second row has become less safe but because the front seat has become safer due to improved airbags and advanced seat belts that are rarely available in the back.
The institute still recommends children under the age of 13 to sit in the rear seat with proper seatbelts. These ratings for minivans do not apply to children in car seats.