A new study has revealed that elderly passengers who ride in the back seat of new cars are three times more likely to sustain a serious or fatal injury during an accident than those who sit in the front of the car.
As part of the study, the researchers analysed data from almost 10,000 crashes with both front and rear seat passengers.
"That meant we could compare within a specific car how the person in the front seat did compared to how the person in the rear seat did in the same crash," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Associate Professor Lynne Bilston of Neuroscience Research Australia as saying.
When they divided the accidents into newer cars (built between 1997 and 2007) and older vehicles (1990 to 1996), the group found adults had double the risk of serious injury while sitting in the back seat of a newer vehicle.
But children were still safer riding in the rear seat of both new and older vehicles because airbags were designed for adults and as children were smaller they benefited from being further away from the front of the car, where most crashes occur.