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Research Reveals Rear-Seat Riders’ Restraint Reluctance

Back seat belts

Public opinion, as well as many state laws, reflect a reduced amount of concern with whether passengers riding in the back seat of a vehicle wear a seat belt as compared with front-seat passengers. But the dangers are just as present for unrestrained rear-seat passengers as they are for front-seat passengers in the event of a crash.  Read on to learn more about seat belt use for rear-seat passengers.

Survey finds that far fewer passengers are buckled up when in rear seat

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a nationwide survey on seat belt use. The survey asked whether respondents always wore a seatbelt when riding in the front seat and back seat, and if not, why they did not. The survey uncovered that, while 90% of respondents wore a seat belt when riding in the front seat of a car, merely 72% wore one while riding in the back seat.

The reason that respondents gave most often for why they didn’t wear a seat belt when riding in the back was that they believed that riding in the back was safer. According to safety experts, passengers in the rear seat who aren’t restrained at the time of a crash are eight times as likely to suffer a serious injury than if they were restrained. Not only can these passengers become more badly injured themselves, but they risk injuring front-seat occupants, as well. Unrestrained bodies can become dangerous projectiles in a crash, flying around the cabin of a car freely. Drivers of cars carrying unrestrained rear passengers are twice as likely to suffer fatal injuries than when back-seat passengers are restrained.

Seat belt use mandated by law for front- and back-seat passengers

Nine percent of respondents who admitted skipping a seat belt when in the back said that they did so because there was no law mandating seat belt use for back-seat passengers. However, 29 states and the District of Columbia have a law mandating that rear-seat passengers wear a seat belt, and 20 of those states have primary enforcement rules which permit police officers to pull over a driver when their passenger isn’t wearing a seatbelt. Hawaii is one such state where back-seat passengers must wear a seat belt at all times, and failing to do so could result in a $100+ ticket.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a motor vehicle accident on Oahu, contact the dedicated and knowledgeable Hilo car accident lawyer Louis P. Mendonca for a consultation on your case, at 808-961-6690.

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