Study: Unbelted passengers in the back seat face a higher risk of fatality

We often discuss how drivers can stay safe behind the wheel, and what they should do after an accident with another negligent driver.

However, it is just as important for passengers to be safe as well. One of the best ways passengers can secure their safety is by wearing their seat belts. Unfortunately, many passengers might choose not to wear their seat belts, which only increases their risk of suffering a catastrophic injury in the event of an accident.

Back seat passengers face a higher risk without seat belts

The Governors Highway Safety Association conducted a study about seat belt use in the rear passenger seats, and the results were alarming, to say the least. According to the study.

  • Passengers in the back seats face double the risk of dying in a crash if they are not wearing their seat belt; and
  • More than 400 out of the 803 rear passenger deaths in 2018 could have been prevented with seat belt use.

Why is this a problem in Pennsylvania?

This is a problem across the country. However, Pennsylvanians, in particular, face a higher risk since Pennsylvania law currently does not require back seat passengers to wear seat belts.

The lack of penalties for not wearing a seat belt is one of the primary reasons passengers in the back seat forgo buckling up.

Additionally, a driver’s choice of whether or not to buckle up might also have an impact. Our neighboring state of Maryland recently conducted a study that found passenger seat belt use heavily depends on driver seat belt use. The study determined that passengers only use their seat belt 40% of the time if the driver does not buckle up.

Bottom line: Everyone in the vehicle should wear a seat belt

Even though the law does not require back seat passengers over 18 to wear a seat belt, it is one choice that can make a significant difference. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has proven that wearing a seat belt can reduce the risk of injury and death in an accident roughly by half.

This is especially important now that winter weather will be adding to the unpredictability of the road. Both passengers and drivers must make the conscious decision to buckle up to protect themselves on Pennsylvania roads.

Get The Help You Deserve

If you are hurt, you need a trusted attorney who will protect your rights and fight for your compensation. You can contact McDonald at Law the firm’s Lancaster office now by calling 717-208-2641 or toll-free at 800-734-8239. You can also reach us by filling out the contact form.