Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Do Your Back Seat Passengers Buckle Up? They Should!
Buckling up is one of the easiest safety measures that passengers can do to prevent or reduce injuries in an auto accident.
In spite of the known benefits, car accident lawyers still deal with many accident cases involving injured back seat passengers.
Auto accident attorneys sadly find that that there are still many people who do not understand that passengers in the back seat are just as susceptible to injury as those in the front and should also buckle up every time.
Buckling Up - Not Just for the Front Seat!
A common myth that car accident lawyers find many people believe is that seat belts are only necessary for passengers who ride in the front seats of cars.
Many people erroneously believe that those riding in back seats are safer and less likely to be injured in an auto accident, which reduces their need to buckle up in the back.
A 2017 survey conducted by the IIHS concluded that while 91% of passengers buckle up while seated in the front, only 72% of those same passengers admit they buckle up when seated in the back of someone else’s car.1
That number lowered to 62 for those traveling in a taxi or rideshare car.1
Auto accident attorneys are well aware that this leaves back seat passengers at a significantly greater risk of being injured in a crash.
Unbuckled Back Seat Passengers More Likely to Be Hurt
Car accident lawyers agree that while it may seem that front seat passengers are the most at risk of injury in an auto accident, this is not necessarily true.
Advances in automotive safety features have balanced out the risk, making traveling in the front safer.
Instead, recent crash statistics suggest that unrestrained back seat passengers are almost as likely to sustain injury as those in the front seat.
When seated in the rear, unrestrained passengers are also 8 times more likely to suffer serious and fatal injuries than those wearing seat belts.
According to the NHTSA, this equates to 966 people who were fatally injured in accidents while unrestrained in the back seat of a passenger vehicle.2
Buckling Up Both Front and Back Saves Lives
An important point that auto accident attorneys want to emphasize is that the research done by both the IIHS and NHTSA clearly show that seat belts save lives.
Based on different statistics and crash data, it is estimated that seat belt use saved nearly 14,000 lives.1
Improved compliance in the use of both front and back seat belts could save an additional 3,000 lives every year.
Car accident lawyers stress that the myth of being safer in the back seat of a car and not needing a seat belt is just that: a myth.
All passengers in a vehicle are just as likely to be injured in an auto accident.
Whether riding in the front or the back, unsecured passengers are more likely to be seriously injured than those wearing seat belts.
Auto accident attorneys encourage all passengers regardless of where they are seated in a vehicle to put on their seat belts and travel safely at all times!
1Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute, News: Adults Admit To Not Always Using Safety Belts in the Back Seat, August 3, 2017
2NU.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Traffic Safety Facts: Seat Belt Use in 2016 - Overall Results, November 2016