The federal administration is proposing a new seatbelt warning system that would apply to occupants of the back seat as well as the front seat passenger. It is a move that could significantly help reduce the number of people killed in car accidents on America’s roads every year. It is important to keep in mind that persons in the rear seats are injured in car accidents, especially in rear-end accidents and T-bone accidents.
In 2021, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Acting Administrator, approximately 43,000 people were killed in car accidents and approximately 50% of them were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the auto accident. Their chances of surviving the crash could have significantly improved had they been buckled in. Unfortunately, the current law only requires seat belt reminder systems for drivers, but has no such requirements for front seat passengers as well as occupants of the rear seat of the car. These people are also at a very high risk of suffering fatal injuries in the event of an auto accident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently issued a Proposed Rule which requires motor vehicles weighing up to 10,000 pounds to have seatbelt reminder systems for all passengers in the car, including front seat and backseat passengers. The requirement would require a visual alert that would go on for approximately 60 seconds and would alert the driver to the status of rear seatbelt usage. It would also require an audible alert that would alert the driver when a backseat passenger removes the seat belt while the vehicle is in operation. The rule would also require an audio visual alert system for the right front seat passenger to buckle his seatbelt. Auto manufacturers would have the flexibility to decide how frequently and how loud the audible reminder system should be.