C’mon people, hearing the click of a buckle when getting into a car should be habit by now.
Riding in the back seat without a seatbelt even in an Uber, is a dangerous practice that needs to stop. It may take a dummy to prove it to you, but don’t feel too bad because it’s become apparent, at least according to Reuters, that even the NHTSA may not be completely aware of that. As a result, the automotive safety governing body is now facing a lawsuit from two nonprofit organizations. Many automakers now use seatbelt warning systems that sound annoying beeps if a driver fails to buckle up.
Some go as far as to install sensors in the passenger's seat to sense if someone is sitting there and issue the same warning if no buckle is detected, but hardly any automaker installs similar systems for rear seat occupants. Back in 2012, the Obama administration signed legislation that would ultimately mandate that rear-seat seatbelt warning systems be installed in new cars sold in the US. The aim of the suit, filed by The Center for Auto Safety, and Kids and Cars Inc, is to point out that no action has been taken on part of the NHTSA since the deadline for the rules to go into effect passed in October 2015. The two organizations cite the fact that nearly 1,000 people are killed each year in the US because they fail to buckle up in the back seat.
Neglecting the belt is more common for rear seat passengers, with only 72% of adults claiming to buckle up in the back compared to the 91% who say they do when in the front seat. The disparity can be attributed to the fact that most people see the back seat as a safer than the front. Statistically, that’s true, but it doesn’t stop backseat passengers who don’t buckle up from being negligent by putting front seat passengers at a higher risk of death or serious injury in an accident. If the lawsuit goes the way of the organizations, the NHTSA would need to implement rules forcing automakers to install these warning systems within a year of the ruling.
Avoid the hassle and just get into the habit of buckling up in the rear. That way your front seat occupants will live to thank you.