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Awhile ago I had posted looking for info on the safety data of rear-end collisions where the 3rd seat is concerned. I came across the following, while dated, that I thought I'd share...<p>From Richard's Volvo Experience web site <A HREF="http://langis.richard.tripod.com/index.html" TARGET="_blank">http://langis.richard.tripod.com/index.html</a> :<p>We have had some discussion on the list about Volvo wagon third seat safety. As I mentioned, Volvo has an official statement regarding this which was in answer to the same question several years ago. All of the information (with the possible exemption of the actual accident statistics) is still applicable today.<p>Steve Seekins<p>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.<p><br>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br>October 15, 1993<br>Mr. Daniel S. Reid<br>Dear Mr. Reid: <p>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. <p>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.<p>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.<p>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.<p>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%.<p>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. <p>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.<p>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.<p>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.<p>Very truly yours,<p>Mats Ola Palm<br><BR><BR>
[Modified by 854R, 7:20 PM 1-18-2003]
 

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Re: Rear crash information pertaining to 3rd seat safety (854R)

thanks for that post!<p>I have counted at least six Volvo V70 wagons bringing kids to a small private school for primary grades. as concerned & responsible parents we've talked about this very issue, as we all have this seating option and use it often. <p>this post has been a great relief for me. i will make copies to hand out to the other parents<p>thanks very much!<p>pete
 
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