AAA Report Emphasizes the Need for Backseat Seatbelt Laws
If you are riding in the backseat of an automobile, do you always fasten your seatbelt to avoid injuries in the event of a car accident? If you are driving a car with backseat passengers, do you require them to buckle up before you hit the road? According to a recent ABC 7 News article, “a new report from AAA suggests 44 unbuckled backseat passengers in New York State over the age of 16 are killed every year.” To put that figure another way, nearly 900 people who suffered fatal injuries in car accidents between 1995 and 2014 were backseat passengers who were not wearing seatbelts.
Why are so many New Yorkers failing to wear seatbelts when they are in the backseat? As the article explains, New York law does not require backseat passengers over the age of 16 to wear a seatbelt. While New York was actually the first state to implement a primary seatbelt enforcement law—meaning that you can be stopped and ticketed solely for failing to wear a seatbelt—the state has not kept up with others that have implemented laws concerning seatbelt use in the backseat. For instance, a total of 28 states requires all passengers in the backseat to wear a seatbelt, irrespective of age.
According to the AAA report, those at greatest risk of a serious auto accident injury from failing to wear a seatbelt are teenagers and young adults in the backseat. Typically, passengers in this age group are more willing to take risks. Robert Sinclair of AAA Northeast has advised New York lawmakers to make a change when it comes to seatbelt laws. As Sinclair explained, “the longer we wait the more likely it is that someone will die.” He emphasizes that “one death is one death too many,” and legislators can help to reduce fatal car accidents by creating new laws that requires backseat passengers—regardless of age—to buckle up.
Facts and Figures on Seatbelt Use
If you are in the backseat and fail to buckle up, how much greater is the risk of a serious injury in an auto accident? According to the AAA report, the following statistics make clear that wearing a seatbelt in the backseat can save lives:
- Backseat passengers who do not wear a seatbelt are three times more likely to suffer fatal injuries than those wearing a seatbelt;
- Backseat passengers are eight times more likely to suffer a serious injury in a traffic collision; and
- Backseat passengers who fail to buckle up are two times “more likely to kill a front seat occupant by becoming a projectile.”
What other facts and figures emphasize the importance of wearing a seatbelt? A fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites the following:
- Seatbelt usage reduces the likelihood of death in an auto accident by about 50%;
- Seatbelts, combined with airbags, “provide the greatest protection for adults;”
- In fatal teen car accidents, around 55% of the teens were not wearing seatbelts;
- Men are about 10% less likely than women to wear a seatbelt; and
- Passengers and drivers aged 18 to 34 are less likely than older adults to wear a seatbelt.
Despite the facts and figures above, millions of adults admit to failing to wear a seatbelt on every automobile ride. Do not become a negative statistic! Always “Buckle Up” and make sure everyone in your vehicle is buckled as well.