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Looking for rear facing seat (jump seats) crash test safety data

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by Sean Mitchell, Feb 15, 2017.

  1. Sean Mitchell

    Sean Mitchell Member

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    I'm doing some research on the safety of the rear facing jump seats that Tesla offers in their Model S and came across your work - well done. Surprisingly, I'm having a very, very difficult time finding any supporting data on the safety of the rear facing seat (jump seats). It doesn't appear that Tesla nor any government car safety organizations have published any regarding the safety of the seats. Elon Musk says they are the safest seats in the car for front and side impact, and they have added a double octagonal crash structure in the rear (). Though I love Elon and my Model S, I'm looking for a bit more reassurance from a data perspective.

    After two recent rear-ended accidents (We Talked To The Tesla Model S Driver Rear-Ended By A 40-Ton Semi and Rare fatal accident in a Tesla Model S rear-ended by a large SUV in California), I'm having my doubts. It appears that if the colliding vehicle sits higher than the Model S, it's reinforced bumper does not aid against the ingress of the hatchback.

    Any concrete data, research, or commentary from a professional in the industry would be most appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
  2. kirkbauer

    kirkbauer Member

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    I'm also interested, since I put my kids back there from time to time. In those cases I always try to be very aware of cars coming behind me which means I do things like leave extra space in front of me when stopped so I can move out of the way if I think somebody isn't going to stop.
     
    • Like x 1
  3. Sean Mitchell

    Sean Mitchell Member

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    That's smart to try to minimize the potential. What if you're at a stoplight (or completely stopped in general) and there is a car in front of you preventing you from accelerating? This seems like a typical scenario for a rear end accident.
     
  4. Max*

    Max* Charging

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    Yeah, same here.

    At first I bought the kool aid, now I'm not sure they're the "safest part in the car". My kids don't like them too much, so we don't use them often, but when we do, I try to be extra careful.
     
  5. Evbwcaer

    Evbwcaer Member

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    I avoid using them if other seats are available and I don't let my kids back there in slippery conditions.

    I have no data though....good topic
     
  6. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Active Member

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    As far as I am aware no-one tests 3rd row seat safety. It is also a very difficult topic requiring both a significant amount of testing, analysis and statistical data. It is a mistake to look at a few crashes and draw conclusions on the safety of the seats.

    Some of the good things about the seats:
    • They are rear facing. This means the entire body is supported during the majority of crashes.
    • They are farther inboard than the rest of the seats, therefore they are better protected from side crashes.
    • They have 5 point harnesses, which will better restrain the occupants during crashes.
    • Crashes involving being rear-ended tend to be lower speed deltas than forward crashes. You will never have an extreme speed delta like what might occur in a head on collision hitting in the rear.
    • The heads and torsos of the children are much farther from the back of the car than in many other vehicles with a 3rd row. This will reduce the risk of a fatality.
    Some bad things about the seats:
    • The legs are fairly close to the back of the vehicle
    • Large trucks, particularly if they have an aftermarket lift, may go over the bumper.

    Personally I think that the 3rd row in a Tesla is safer than just about every other car with a 3rd row. If you look at those linked crashes, anyone in the third row of a minivan or an SUV (maybe with the exception of a suburban) would have been killed as well.
     
    • Informative x 1
  7. kirkbauer

    kirkbauer Member

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    You can't avoid it, however by leaving several car lengths of space in front of you it will allow you to release the brake so your vehicle doesn't have to take all of the impact (it would hit the car in front). Or you may be able to get into the shoulder or even oncoming traffic.

    Yeah, I like that. On the other hand I feel I can avoid front-impact collisions easier than somebody rear-ending me.
     
  8. Vinc

    Vinc Member

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    Los Angeles
    Now that a few additional months have gone by, I wanted to follow up to see if any new data regarding this topic has surfaced. I am planning on moving forward with a Model 3 after the Summer, but the possibility of occasionally being able to remove my 4 year old car seat and using the rear facing ones is a big incentive to go with a used MS.

    I feel that if these seats were prone to injuries, it would be easy pray for click bait articles...
     
  9. commasign

    commasign Tesla Superfan

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    I think cooling and ventilation are more of a concern than crash safety. IMO, the jump seats are pretty much useless in the summer (unless you build your own ventilation system). I've had jumpseats since 2013 (current S and one before it) and I only use them a few times a year in winter, spring, and fall, and only for short within-city trips.
     
    • Like x 1
  10. mrjwen

    mrjwen VA: PLUGS IN

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    Not sure if it's a later model thing, but I have a 2015 and as long as your manually set it to fresh air intake, the jump seats stay cool. There's a label on our jumpseats indicating to do this too.
     
    • Informative x 2
  11. commasign

    commasign Tesla Superfan

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    Yeah, I followed the instructions but still gets too hot. Summer California weather meaning 100 degrees plus outside. Fresh air mode and fan at max.
     
  12. mrjwen

    mrjwen VA: PLUGS IN

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    Ah, bummer. Have you tinted the rear window?
     
  13. commasign

    commasign Tesla Superfan

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    Yep. Tinted and have the sunshade which helps. Not saying the jumpseats are completely unusable, but last time I used it in 100 degree heat for a 30 minute drive my daughter said it was too hot and that was the end of that. Plus running the AC with fan at max and in fresh air mode kinda makes the cabin too loud and uses more energy than in recirculation mode.

    On the other hand, jumpseats are great when the weather is in the 70 to 80 degree range.
     

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