Study: Riders less likely to buckle up in back seat putting everyone at risk

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NEW YORK — Seat belts can save lives, but a new report suggests many people choose not to wear them when riding in the backseat.

Video released by Omni Cam Inc. showed a family of three being thrown around when the cab they were in was hit.

In a second, one woman was wearing her seat belt while the other in the left hand passenger seat was not. In the accident, the woman to the left was thrown across the cab, hitting her head on the opposite window before slamming back into her seat.

They're both examples of what can happen when seat belts are not used.

"People are less likely to buckle up when they're in the rear seat."

Jessica Jermakin, a senior research engineer, co-authored the new report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The survey found while 91 percent of people always use their seat belt in the front, only 72 percent use it in the backseat. That number drops to 57 percent when traveling in cabs and ride hauling services like Uber and Lyft.

Uber driver Dustin Goodsell said people often don't buckle up on short trips.

"I usually will say something like, 'I notice your not buckled. I think it would be a good idea to be buckled.'"

Experts said traveling without a safety belt puts not only the backseat rider at risk, but also the people up front.

In the test, the person unbuckled in the back slammed into the driver during the accident.

"We know that drivers are twice as likely to be fatally injured when the passenger behind them is unrestrained," said Jermakian.

She said she would like to see more automakers install the same seat belt reminders cars have in the front for people in the back. It could get more riders to buckle up and help prevent injuries, she said.

Currently, only 29 states have laws requiring people in the back seat to buckle up. That's compared to 49 states that have laws for front seat belts.

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