Since the 1970s, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has required that seat belt reminders be present in vehicles’ driver’s seats. A majority of vehicles produced today also have reminders or warning lights for passenger seats as well. However, only a few car models feature warning chimes or indicators in their dashboards that alert passengers of un-buckled back seat safety belts. Perhaps these alerts would generate greater safety for drivers throughout metro-Atlanta and the state of Georgia.
In years past, the NHTSA has considered creating requirements for automobile manufacturers to include seatbelt reminder systems for rear seats. These petitions have not yet been approved, but many believe it would be a smart addition to aid in passenger safety. Both Europe and Japan have seatbelt reminder systems in place for passengers of back seats. In the United States, rear seat passengers make use of seatbelts much less than passengers in the front seats. This can be attributed to the lack of reminder for those back seat passengers. For many drivers and front seat passengers, the warning chimes are simply irritating enough for them to make a habit of automatically fastening their safety belts. Approximately 83 percent of passengers in front seats of American automobiles use seatbelts, while only 74 percent of back seat passengers use safety belts. Perhaps the lack of warning and annoyance at those cautions accounts for the lack of motivation in rear-seat passengers.
As an experienced Marietta personal injury firm, we meet with clients on a regular basis that are victims of serious Georgia auto accidents. We understand that the back seat location in a vehicle seems much safer than the front in the event of an accident. Many believe there is lower risk of being injured in an auto wreck if they are behind the front seats, but this is not true. Not only do rear seat passengers need to beware of serious injuries as a result of accidents while not wearing a seatbelt, but should understand that it is common for those unbuckled back seat passengers to cause injury to others in the vehicle. In the event of a car accident, any unbelted passenger can become a projectile, which could strike others in the vehicle. Back seat passengers can also be ejected from motor vehicles, just as front seat passengers can be, in the event of a collision. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that injuries and fatalities to others in the car increases by up to 40 percent when the back seat passenger is not buckled. The last thing anyone wants is to be responsible for another person’s injuries or death because they failed to buckle up. If you or someone you know have been involved in an accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, do not hesitate to contact our office today for a free consultation at (770) 427-5498. With over 40 years of combined experience, we have a vast amount of knowledge and pointers to share with those that wish to learn more.