Is the Front Passenger Seat Always the “Death Seat”? An Application of Hierarchical Ordered Probit Model for Occupant Injury Severity

It is often believed that the front passenger seat in a vehicle associates with a higher risk of severe injuries than rear seats if involved in a crash. However, is this always true? With this question, this study conducted hierarchical ordered probit model to examine the correlation between sitting positions and occupant injury severities. The hierarchical model is able to account for the potential influence of occupant injury severities within the same crash. The authors investigated crashes provided by the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure website (data years: 2012-2016). The data includes injury information, driver information, vehicle information, environment information. The results indicated that both the front passenger seat and rear seats are associated with increased injury severity compared with the driver seat (passengers vs. the driver). If the front row has two passenger seats and the driver seat, the occupant sitting in the middle of the front row is found to be related to the highest injury severity. There is no significant difference between the rear seat passengers. Other correlates of occupant injury severity are also discussed in this paper, related to occupant age, vehicle speed, blood alcohol level, vehicle type, crash type, seat belt and traffic volume. The information generated by this study could help reduce the extent of harms occupants may suffer when involved in a traffic crashes and also offer insights for policy regulations regarding where an occupant might sit in a vehicle.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee ANB45 Standing Committee on Occupant Protection.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

  • Authors:
    • Yang, Hongtai
    • Zhai, Guocong
    • Liu, Jun
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2019


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 8p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01697680
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 19-00944
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Mar 1 2019 3:51PM