Buckle Up for Safety

seatbelted driver in traffic

IIHS Finds Adults Less Likely to Use Seatbelt in the Back Seat of a Vehicle

In a recent study, IIHS, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, found that some adults are less likely to use their seatbelts when riding in the back seat. Although many adults realize that buckling up in the back seat is vital for their children, there are common misconceptions about the need for adults to buckle up.


The study found that the age group least likely to always use the seatbelt in the back seat are those between 35 and 54 years.


IIHS also found that many adults who do not always buckle up often choose not to when in the back of taxis or ride-hailing service vehicles, and on shorter trips. 


Why Adults Do Not Always Buckle Up in the Back Seat

The survey found many reasons why adults chose not to buckle up in the back seat. Here are just a few:

  • Safety misconceptions
  • Belt discomfort
  • Forget / out of the habit
  • Considered optional – lack of backseat seat belt laws
  • Seen as unnecessary on a short journey

IIHS Findings

IIHS reported some interesting statistics as part of their findings.

  • 72% of those that had said they had ridden in the back seat of a vehicle during the preceding six months reported that they always use their belt in the back seat.
  • However, 91% reported always buckling up when seated in front.


This shows an apparent discrepancy between attitudes towards front-seat and backseat riding.

IIHS reports that more than half of the people who die in passenger vehicle crashes in the United States each year are unbelted.


IIHS explains that in the past, when seatbelts were not commonly used, the back seat was indeed a safer place to sit, in particular, the center seat, in 60s and 70s vehicles. However, this has led to common misconceptions about the safety of the backseat in modern vehicles.


"For most adults, it's still as safe to ride in the back seat as the front seat, but not if you aren't buckled up," commented Jessica Jermakian, a co-author of the study and an IIHS senior research engineer.

It is also important to bear in mind that by choosing not to buckle up in the back seat, you might be putting others in danger if a crash were to occur. Other passengers may be hit with force if you are removed from your seat in a crash.


Take Away

Whether you’re on a short or long drive in the front or back seat of any vehicle, always buckle up if possible. This seemingly minor decision can have a huge impact on you and other passengers in the car should a crash occur.


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