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Does anyone have any info on the safety of the 3rd row seating position? There apparently are rumors

http://forums.swedespeed.com/zerothread?id=18992

that it will be discontinued for safety reasons. I thought long and hard before buying and using the 3rd row seat, because it doesn't look like there is alot of room to spare in case of a rear-end collision. But after being told by Volvo HQ that the 3rd row passengers are within the "volvo passenger safety structure" and trusting that Volvo wouldn't put these seats for all these years--to be used expressly by our most precious cargo, our kids--unless they were safe, I decided to trust that they were fundamentally ok. I couldn't find any data either way, so it was a faith-based decision.

So, is there any crash test data, real-world crash statistics, or even anecdote/stories that you can share of what happens in a rear-end crash?
 

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Re: 3rd row seat safety?? (kenschel)

There are some pics posted a while ago, showing a couple of V70 in a rear-end accident. From the pics it looks like the V70 absorbs the impact by "bending the lower frame" at around the rear axle. In these pics there are no (very limited?) intrusion into the 3rd row area. But I can't seem to find those pics anymore however. As you say, Volvo treats the 3rd row passenger area and therefore they would ensure that it complies with their safety standard.
 

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Re: 3rd row seat safety?? (kenschel)

From http://au.geocities.com/ozbrick850/crash-rear.html

This official statement from Volvo was authored in 1993. Accident stats maybe different than quoted, however, they are correct for the date written. Also, this was written before the 850 hit the market, however, Volvo has assured me that there has been no change in design philosophy regarding rear crash protection in the wagons with the advent of the 850 and 900 series. This was from the office of Mats Ola Palm, President and Chief Executive Officer, Volvo Cars of North America. Current President and CEO is Helge Alten.

----

October 15, 1993
Mr. Daniel S. Reid
Dear Mr. Reid:

Thank you for your letter of October 5, 1993 regarding the accident your family experienced in their
Volvo. I was pleased to see that the Volvo performed as designed and your family was spared any
serious injury. I also want to take a few minutes of your time to discuss the issue you raised regarding
the optional rear facing third seat which may be installed in our wagons.

The subject of automotive safety is a complex one with very few simple answers. Perhaps the best place
to start is by realizing that there is a different relative level of injury exposure for every seating position in
every automobile. This stems from a number of real world issues such as the frequency of the type of
accident, the structure of the vehicle, the direction of impact, the distance from the point of impact, and
the type of restraining device.

According to our Safety Engineers, in most five passenger automobiles this makes the rear center seating
position arguable the "safest" if it is equipped with a three-point seat belt. Statistics show that the
majority of all impacts are frontal, making the rear seat position more desirable. The next most frequent
type of accident is the side impact. Here, the center position in the rear seat is the farthest from the
potential points of impact. Again, contributing to the safety of this position when a three-point belt is
fitted and used.

I believe it is important to understand the concepts I have stated to appreciate the risks and merits of our
optional rear facing third seat. The optional seat has been designed with the same attention to safety as
all of the other seating positions in a Volvo. It is solidly built and firmly bolted to the vehicle structure. It
has built in head restraints and three-point self-adjusting seat belts. It is designed to carry 2 children up
to 88 pounds each in weight.

As I have stated, the most frequent type of accident is a frontal impact. In such an accident the third seat
is the farthest from the point of impact and since the seating is rear facing, it allows the occupants to
dissipate the crash energy across their entire back which produces even less body loading than a seat
belt would produce. In the second most frequent type of accident, the side impact, the two occupants of
the third seat sit between the rear wheel wells with the extra structure of the rear axle outside them and
extra distance to either side of the car. U.S. government statistics show that frontal impacts account for
over 50% of all accidents while side impacts total about 28%.

I realize that your concern lies with rear impacts which account for only 10% of all accidents. The body of
a Volvo station wagon is designed to manage crash energy in a different way than our sedans. It is more
rigid and designed to help dissipate the crash energy forward to more of the structure of the vehicle. The
impact in the rear is also lighter than frontal due to the fact that normally both vehicles move in the same
direction, or one is standing still. In laboratory tests, instrumented dummies simulating occupants of the
proper size, under 88 pounds, wearing their restraints experienced no significant indications of head,
torso, or leg injuries with a rear impact flat barrier at 30 miles per hour. In fact, this seat complies with the
performance requirements stipulated by government safety authorities in both the U.S. and Europe.

Moving from the theoretical to the practical, our real world experience bears out the merits of this seat.
Approximately one-third of all Volvo station wagons sold in the U.S. are ordered with this option and
have been for almost 20 years. In virtually every report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
and the Highway Loss Data Institute, Volvo station wagons are consistently rated among the safest
vehicles on the roads. During all of this time Volvo Cars of North America has never been contacted
regarding an injury or death for an occupant of the third seat in a crash.

While the image in your mind of sitting in the rear facing seat and being struck by a vehicle is frightening,
both laboratory and real world experience says there is no inherent safety problem in design of the rear
facing third seat. Finally, why does Volvo offer the third seat? Because we have seen that the extra space
available in a wagon is often used to carry people, in far too many cases, totally unrestrained. The safety
implications of this are truly terrifying. Realizing this, we offered what we genuinely believe to be a far
superior solution.

I thank you for your letter and I hope I did not overwhelm you with this somewhat complex answer to
your question. Again, I am glad to hear your family is fine. Please call me on the phone at xxx, xxxx, if you
want to further elaborate on my comments, or if I can be of further assistance.

Very truly yours,

Mats Ola Palm
 

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Re: 3rd row seat safety?? (Geniusjustin)

That picture seems to mirror being hit by the same type of car...now take the normal car/SUVs that you experience on a regular basis...

An average SUV would hit the rear of the car somewhere near the back window/license plate area....which would be pushed directly into the occupants.

I think it may be up to standards for car to car crashes, but they don't crash cars into SUV's in any of these safety tests.....
 

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Re: 3rd row seat safety?? (doubleb26)

I think the SUV/truck rear-end would be even more dangerous for a typical minivan/3-row SUV (excepting the Suburbans/Excursions with large cargo areas).

If you look at those, you'll see very little room between the back glass and the 3d row occupants' skulls. Especially true in short minivans/SUVs.

As the letter above states, your most severe rear-end impact is likely to be less severe than even a moderate nose-to-nose. All things being equal, it would take being hit while stopped on the side of the Interstate to create equivalent energy of a cranium-on collision on a 35mph city street.
 

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<img>https://twitter.com/suegemmell/status/376205285330657280/photo/1</img>
My 2001 V70 was rear-ended by a jeep with a winch on front, the cargo area was destroyed and had there been children in that area, they might have been killed. If you live in an area with SUVs, don't put kids in the third row.
 

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8 year old thread, nice bringing it back from the dead! :facepalm:

Look, nothing (and you) cannot protect all the people all the time.

If I were young and had kids, I probably would not use a rear facing seat but the odds are very low that anything bad would actually happen.
 

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My 2018 V90CC was totaled when rear-ended by a Ford F450 truck while I was stopped at a red light. Had there been third row rear-facing seats, occupants would not have fared well, suffering crushed legs and hip/pelvic injuries at the very least
 

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My 2018 V90CC was totaled when rear-ended by a Ford F450 truck while I was stopped at a red light. Had there been third row rear-facing seats, occupants would not have fared well, suffering crushed legs and hip/pelvic injuries at the very least
(EDIT) 7 year old thread, nice bringing it back from the dead! 🤦
this new forum software is really doing a job on everyone's forum usage.
 
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