If a proposal by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to mandate seatbelt alerts for rear seat passengers is approved and goes into effect, it could mean a much lower risk of injuries to passengers in the back seat.
Rear seat passengers have much lower rates of seatbelt usage compared to drivers and front seat passengers.Nationally, only 74% of backseat passengers buckle up all the time, compared to seat belt usage rates of 83% for front seat passengers. Our Atlanta car accident attorneys agree that higher rear seatbelt usage would help prevent some of the most serious injuries.
The proposal would require that alerts and warnings that are currently in place for motorists and front seat passengers who have not yet buckled up after the car has been put into operation, are also included for rear seat belt passengers.The typically include a chime or beep that continues to sound until the seatbelt it engaged.
Vehicle accident lawyers often find that rear seat passengers have a false sense of security because of their position in the car.They believe that they may be at a lower risk of injuries in an accident, because they’re protected by the seat in front during a front impact accident.
That may not be true at all.Rear seat passengers may be just as much at risk of suffering serious injuries in an accident as front seat passengers.In fact, rear seat passengers are not only at a high risk of injuries to themselves, but may also be at risk of causing injuries to other people in the car too.During an accident, an unbelted passenger in the rear seat becomes a human projectile, and is at risk of striking or hitting other passengers in the car, leading to possibly deadly injuries.Passengers are also much more likely to be ejected from a vehicle during an accident if not properly seatbelted.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that non-seat belt usage by rear seat passengers increases injury or fatality risks to other people in the car by as much as 40%.Those are staggering rates, and any initiative that encourages higher seat belt usage is highly welcome.