AAA: Seat belt laws should include back seat passengers

Posted: Updated:
FARMINGDALE -

A new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety finds that while many are using their seatbelt in the front seat, much less are buckling up in the back seat. 

A total of 91 percent of those surveyed say they always buckle up when they sit in the front seat of a vehicle, but just 72 percent say they consistently wear a safety belt in the back seat.

AAA spokesman Robert Sinclair says while drivers in New York know they are required by law to wear their seat belts up front, they also know passengers aged 16 and older are not required to do so while sitting in the rear.

Sinclair says the result can be deadly. From 1996 to 2014, AAA reports that 886 people were killed while riding in the back seat without wearing a seat belt.

"As soon as the law doesn't apply, they take the belt off, and people start getting killed as a result," says Sinclair. 

The study finds that riders who rely on taxis and Ubers to get around are some of the worst culprits.

AAA has been lobbying lawmakers to pass legislation that would require back seat passengers of all ages to buckle up. The governor has voiced his support for the idea, but it has yet to become law.
 

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