“Unfortunately many passengers will not change their behavior unless there is a legal consequence,” said Garrett Townsend, Georgia Public Relations Director of AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Because of this attitude, the easiest and most cost effective way to save lives and prevent injuries is to improve the current seat belt law to cover all vehicle occupants.
In 2016, 28 states in the U.S. have seat belt laws that cover all passengers. Georgia is not one of them.
The law here requires that passengers between the age of 6 and seventeen wear safety belts in all seats, but for people 18 and over, seat belts are only required in the front seat. So, if you are an adult you are not required to wear a seat belt in the back seat.
As far as safety is concerned, does that matter? Yes, it means a lot.
Passengers in the back seat are three times more likely to die in a crash if they are unbuckled, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association. Nationally, seat belt use by adult rear seat passengers is only 78 percent, compared to 87 percent for the front seat passenger.
The numbers in Georgia are not good. Our state ranks sixth in the nation in unrestrained passenger fatalities according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
We have work to do. We need to get more and more people to wear their seat belts at all times in the car and it might be time that we join the other 28 states that mandate seat belts to be worn at all times, in both the front and back seats.
It’s not 1981 anymore. We know better.