WOODBURY - A new traffic study found that failing to wear a seat belt in the back seat of a car can often be a deadly decision.
The Automobile Club of New York says that from 1995 to 2014, nearly 1,000 unbelted back-seat passengers died across the state. One in five of those deaths involved Long Islanders.
Since 1984, New York state law has required front-seat passengers to buckle up, but back-seat riders over the age of 16 don't have to. There are only 28 states that require every passenger to wear a seat belt.
According to AAA, unbelted rear-seat passengers are three times more likely to die in a crash and eight times more likely to be injured.
AAA's Alec Slatky says that over 40 percent of back-seat fatalities come from passengers being thrown from the vehicle.