Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog

Unbelted Back Seat Passengers Twice as Likely to Die in Car Crash

The number of motorists and front seat passengers who survive serious accidents has increased over the past few decades, primarily due to the increase in seatbelt usage rates among these occupants. However, the same is not true for back seat passengers. There are more number of fatal injuries involving back seat passengers now, and the rates of seat belt usage for persons in the back seat has not really increased over the past few years.

In fact, back seat passengers who fail to buckle up are as much as twice as likely to suffer fatal injuries in a car accident. This information comes from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association which says that in 2018 alone, there were as many as 800 fatalities that involved back seat passengers who were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident.

Seatbelt usage rates among adults in the back seat are lower than for motorists and front seat occupants.  Unfortunately, this is a safety issue that federal as well as state highway safety officials have failed to take very seriously. There is currently no state that requires back seat passengers without exception to wear a seatbelt while riding in a car.

Some estimates state that rear seatbelt usage rates are as much as 25 percent lower than for front seat occupants. Other estimates suggest that while the seatbelt usage rate is 90 percent for front seat passengers and motorists, it is as low as 75 percent for back seat passengers. That discrepancy places back seat passengers in a particularly vulnerable position in a crash. Rear seat passengers tend to have a false sense of security about their position in the car. The fact is that modern automobiles have now become very safe for front seat occupants, and the latest tech does much to protect motorists and persons in the front seat. The risks for back seat passengers, however, have not improved.   These passengers continue to be at risk.

Make sure that all passengers in your car are buckled in before you begin driving. If you are a back seat passenger, don’t be lulled into a false sense of complacency about your safety in the back seat. Serious injuries can be caused if you are thrown out of your seat in the event of an accident.