Girl’s Tragedy Has Parents Calling for Changes to Car Design (The Modernizing Seat Back Safety Act–S1413)

Fraser and her husband, Jason, are promoting federal legislation that would beef up safety standards for seat backs, which haven’t been updated for half a century.

The Modernizing Seat Back Safety Act, S. 1413, would require the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to perform research and craft new safety standards to better protect back seat passengers in a rear-end collision.

The NHTSA set the standard for seat back strength in 1967, and has not revisited the matter since, according to the Center for Auto Safety, a consumer advocacy group.

“In a sedan, the seat back is not any stronger than the average banquet chair. You can imagine pushing on a banquet chair; you could break it pretty easily, if you leaned it back hard enough with enough force,” Fraser said.