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Seatbelt Use Lagging Among Backseat Occupants

Statistics show that seatbelt usage rates for adults riding in the backseat of a car are much lower than for those in the front seat.  Unfortunately, far too many adult passengers believe that buckling up when they are riding in the backseat is not always necessary.

According to a recent survey by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 4 out of 5 backseat passengers believe that seatbelts are unnecessary on short trips or while riding in a taxi. Backseat passengers have a false sense of security and believe that they are safer when they are seated in the back seat and therefore don’t need to wear a seatbelt.  Unfortunately, these statistics hold true in the Atlanta area as well.

Obviously, that logic is flawed.  Every person in a passenger vehicle is at risk of injuries in an accident, regardless of where they are sitting in a car. Riding in the backseat can be just as safe as riding in the front seat, unless you’re not wearing a seatbelt. A few decades ago, when auto safety technologies were not as cutting-edge as they are now, front seat passengers had a much higher risk of dying in an accident. However, since the introduction of advanced airbag systems and other safety technologies, safety for front seat passengers and drivers has increased dramatically.

Rear seat passengers should be aware that they are not much safer while sitting in the backseat. In fact, if you choose to ride in the backseat without a seatbelt, you are actually at a much higher risk of injuries than front seat occupants.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety survey focused on more than 1,100 adults, who had been backseat passengers over the previous six months. Out of these, 72% always admitted to using a seatbelt while riding in the backseat, while 91% always wore seatbelts while in the front. There is a significant disparity in seatbelt usage rates, between backseat and front seat occupants among adults. Interestingly, adults understand that rear seat safety is very important when their children are involved, but do not apply the same logic to themselves

It is also important to note that other people in the car can be more at risk of serious injuries when passengers are not wearing seatbelts. In a 2013 study conducted by the University Of Virginia, researchers found that motorists are twice as high to die in an accident where the backseat passenger was unrestrained, compared to those accidents in which rear seat passengers were buckled in. If they are not wearing a seatbelt, passengers can also bump into each other with high forces of impact during an accident causing possibly fatal injuries.

Regardless of whether you are seated in the front or back seat, buckle up –it could save your life.

The car accident lawyers at the Katz Law Firm represent persons injured in auto accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia.