Lawsuit Over Rear Seat Belt Warning Indicator Aims to Make Cars Safer

Oct 22, 2017 Car Accidents    News    Ohio Personal Injury

Posted by: Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC

We often hear how important it is for drivers to buckle their seatbelts before getting on the road. Much research has been dedicated to making drivers and front passengers safer, with improvements such as locking seatbelts and front airbags making the front of the car a safer place to be than it was in the 1970s. But little has been done to remind passengers that they should buckle up even if they’re sitting in a back seat. In 2012, President Obama signed legislation stating that automakers must begin including rear seatbelt warning indicators in cars, just as they have been doing for driver and front passenger seatbelts. Yet five years later, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has failed to show any progress toward this venture.

Other organizations, tired of waiting for action, have filed a lawsuit against NHTSA to get these safety measures in place.

Backseat Passengers Need to Buckle Up

Last year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) surveyed over 1,150 adults ages 18 and up about using a seat belt when sitting in the backseat of a car. The results found that fewer people used their safety belts in the back seat (72%) than they did in the front seat (91%). There is little research to indicate why people felt it was not as necessary to buckle up in the back. The IIHS report merely revealed that adults who take short trips in the backseat (such as a ride in a taxi) did not use a seatbelt. Perhaps these passengers feel it was still safer to be in the back, or perhaps it was simply because wearing a seat belt in the back seats of vehicles was not required by law in their state.

IIHS has data that shows that rear seat passengers not wearing seatbelts were eight times more susceptible to serious injuries than those who buckled up while riding in the backseat. But it isn’t just backseat riders who can be harmed. IIHS pointed to another study that revealed that drivers were twice as likely to be killed in an accident if an unbuckled passenger was riding behind them. This information reiterates the fact that riding in the back seat without wearing a seat belt can cause more damage than passengers may have previously considered.

NHTSA Needs to Follow the Law

Two nonprofit agencies, the Center for Auto Safety and Kids and Cars Inc., feel it’s time for NHTSA to do what the law requires. While a 2012 article featured an NHTSA spokesperson who said they were working on implementing the rear seat belt indicator, it appears that little has been done in the past five years. Meanwhile, annual statistics of fatal accidents show half of those killed were not wearing seatbelts at the time of their crashes.

How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help

Despite evidence proving otherwise, many passengers still feel it is safe to ride in the back seat of a car without buckling up. If you or a loved one were injured or killed by the negligent actions of another driver or an unrestrained back seat passenger, you are entitled to seek compensation. The car accident lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick will review your case and fight to get you damages to cover your medical bills, lost work wages, and pain and suffering.

For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 1-800-HURT-NOW.