Rear seat passengers are three times more likely to die in a crash if they aren't buckled up.
Yet Georgia is one of 22 states where adults in the back seat aren't required to wear a seat belt. That's sobering news to consider as millions of families take to the roads this week for the Thanksgiving holiday.
A new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) delves into the safety implications of not buckling up in the back seat.
In 2013, only 55% of rear seat passengers age 8 and older in fatal crashes in Georgia were wearing their seat belt, compared with 70% in the front seat.
Some other key takeaways of the report:
- In 2013, 883 unrestrained rear seat passengers age 8 and above were killed in traffic crashes. More than 400 of them would have survived if they had buckled up.
- By all available measures (observation, self-reported surveys, and crash data), adult belt use in rear seats is 9 to 14% lower than in the front.
Another problem cited in the report is that many people don't buckle up when they use taxis and ride-sharing services, behaving differently than they would in their own vehicle.
The report makes five recommendations to increase rear seat belt use by adults:
- Enact a primary enforcement rear seat belt law.
- Enforce existing rear seat belt laws.
- Educate the public about the importance of bucking up in the back.
- Encourage use in taxis and ride-sharing services.
- Boost front seat belt use (passengers in the rear are more likely to buckle up when their driver wears a seat belt).