With Connecticut set to expand its seat belt law to cover the back seat, I wanted to send a summary of research on this important topic. In states that require seat belt use in all seating positions, 84 percent of back-seat passengers were observed using seat belts in 2017, compared with 63 percent of back-seat passengers in states that require only front-seat belt us. And when more people buckle up, lives are saved. Seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives in 2017.
In a recent IIHS survey, nearly 40 percent of people surveyed said they sometimes don’t buckle up in the rear seat because there is no law requiring it. If there were such a law, 60 percent of respondents said it would convince them to use belts in the back seat.
Although safety belts are proven to save lives, more than half of the people who die in passenger vehicle crashes in the U.S. each year are unbelted. One person’s decision not to buckle up can have consequences for other people riding with them as well, as demonstrated in a recent IIHS crash test with an unbelted rear occupant. IIHS has a summary of research on this topic here: https://www.iihs.org/topics/seat-belts.