Most vehicles on the road today set off a reminder if you forget to buckle up in the front seat. Even if the incessant beeping doesn’t bug you enough to put on your seat belt, the other passengers in the vehicle will usually guilt you into wearing one to make it stop.
In the back seat, however, many adults don’t feel this same pressure to strap in for the ride.
According to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), almost 30 percent of passengers admitted they don’t always wear a seat belt in the back seat.
The research shines a light on the common misconception that the back seat is the safest section of a vehicle. In reality, recent breakthroughs in technology and vehicle safety have concentrated on the front seats. New features that have become standard in the front of vehicles are often pricey add-ons in the back. While children are still safest riding in the back seat, the same can’t always be said for adult passengers.
Unbuckled rear-seat riders are eight times as likely to be injured or killed in a crash, and choosing not buckle up in the back seat can have serious consequences for others in the vehicle too.
A 2013 study revealed drivers are about twice as likely to be killed in a crash when the left rear passenger isn’t wearing a seat belt. The crash test video below demonstrates how an unbelted passenger can be thrown forward from the back seat in a crash, crushing the driver or another passenger. As noted by Consumer Reports, “the sudden deceleration of a car in a crash at just 30 mph will transform the mass of an unbelted 160-pound person into 12 tons.”
Ohio law doesn’t require adults riding in the back to wear a seat belt, but this simple precaution could be the difference between life and death for you and your loved ones in an accident.
Do you always wear a seat belt when you’re riding in the back? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments.