When you are a driver in a car you have a considerable amount of control of events that are likely to impact your safety. While there is always a chance that you'll be involved in a car accident despite your best efforts at defensive driving, you are at least capable, as the one behind the wheel, of taking some actions on your own behalf to try to ensure your safety.
As a regular passenger you still have some control, albeit a significantly decreased amount. You can choose not to ride in a car with a driver who has been drinking or someone whom you know has a predilection for reckless driving. The level of control decreases yet again if you are using public transportation, a taxi or some other method where the experience and skill of the driver is unknown to you, although at least in that case you have the option of getting out of the vehicle if it seems dangerous. The lowest level of control I can image is an inmate who is being transported in a prison shuttle van. It was occupants in just this situation who were injured in a crash in California recently.
The crash occurred on Monday as a small group of prisoners were being transported to another facility. According to local new reports, an unlicensed driver went through a red light. The five passengers in the prisoner transport van as well of the driver of the van sustained injuries in the crash. They were treated at area hospitals for injuries that were not described as life threatening.
Inmates injured during transport may not garner much sympathy, but we can all related to the feeling of powerlessness when we are a passenger in a motor vehicle. Every driver, regardless of the context has a duty to drive in a manner that does not subject their passengers and others to an undue risk of injury.
Source: Mercury News "6 hurt in crash involving OC prison transport van," Jan. 2, 2012