It’s a common misconception that the back seat of a car is safer for occupants than the front seat. However, new research suggests that with the advent of new safety features designed to protect front-seat occupants, back seat occupants are at a greater risk of sustaining serious or life-threatening injuries in a crash.
Back seats are still the safest place for children ages 3-13, but not so much for occupants ages 55 and older.
How Alabama is addressing back seat safety
According to the Alabama Political Reporter, a new bill requiring all vehicle occupants to wear a seat belt was recently passed by the Alabama House of Representatives. This will make Alabama the 29th state to mandate seat belt use for rear-seat vehicle occupants.
Senate Bill 254 was sponsored by Senator David Burkette (D-Montgomery) and carried in the House by State Rep. Chris Sells (R-Greenville). It was named after Roderic Deshaun Scott, a Robert E. Lee High School basketball star from Montgomery who was killed in a crash in 2016 after being thrown from a vehicle.
Sells anticipates that the forthcoming seat belt law will encourage drivers to place emphasis on wearing seat belts, especially on high ways.
“National data show us that seat belt use and compliance with seat belt laws may be the most effective safety measure we can take,” Sells said in a statement.
“The Roderic Deshaun Scott Seat Belt Safety Act puts a human face on an issue that’s long overdue to be addressed,” State Rep. Kirk Hatcher (D-Montgomery) said. “This is an important step in strengthening the safety culture in Alabama by requiring seat belt use by back seat passengers.”
Since 2000, Alabama’s seat belt law was only required for front seat occupants and rear seat occupants under age 15.
Likelihood of a crash being deadly
Alabama Political Reporter cites statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that suggests back seat occupants are three times more likely to be killed in a crash than front-seat occupants when not wearing a seat belt.
Passengers should never take a chance with their life. Buckling up can prevent an injury from becoming a fatality. Even while wearing your seat belt, it’s likely you will sustain injuries – depending on the severity of the crash.
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