Some might think a reminder to wear your seatbelt is unnecessary. Some might even think to themselves, “I already know it’s important to wear a seatbelt in the front seat.”
What about the backseat?
The back seat of a vehicle is not off limits. Countless studies have shown lives can be saved by wearing a seatbelt no matter where one is seated in a vehicle.
In Minnesota, the use of seatbelts is required. Recent information released by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety highlighted not everyone riding in or driving a vehicle is wearing a seatbelt in the backseat.
Specifically, teens and young adults aren’t buckling up in the backseat, according to a news release from the Office of Traffic Safety at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
About only 10 percent of the 30 backseat passengers ages 13–24 killed during 2008–2010 were buckled up. Front-seat occupants in this age group are four-to-five times more likely to be belted than those in the back, according to the news release.
The release went on to say teens and young adults have the worst rear-seatbelt compliance. That said, all age groups need to be mindful of rear-seatbelt requirements.
Consider these additional facts:
• Only 26 percent of the 87 backseat motorists killed in the state during 2008–2010 were belted, compared to nearly 49 percent of the 818 front-seat passenger fatalities.
• Each year, more than half of the motorists killed in Minnesota crashes aren’t belted — which translates to more than 150 deaths and 400 serious injuries annually. Eighty percent of the unbelted deaths occur on Greater Minnesota roads.
Minnesota is not the only state with startling statistics. Seatbelt safety is a national issue. Reviewing numbers is one thing. Heeding the warning behind them is another story. Buckle Up! Here are some additional reminders from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety:
Seat belt facts and tips:
• Seatbelts restrain motorists in the vehicle’s designed protective space, giving them room to live in the event of a crash. Seatbelts also keep drivers correctly positioned behind the wheel.
• In rollover crashes, unbelted motorists are usually ejected from the vehicle. In less severe crashes, an unbelted motorist may crack teeth out or break their nose on the steering wheel.
• Wear lap belts low and snug across the hips; shoulder straps should never be tucked under an arm or behind the back. Not only is that unsafe, it is illegal.
• Children under age 13 should always ride in the backseat. Children who have outgrown a forward-facing harness restraint should ride in a booster seat until they are 4-feet 9-inches tall.
• Pregnant women should wear the lap belt under the stomach, as low on the hips as possible and against the upper thighs. The shoulder belt should rest between the breasts.
• Airbags are designed to work with seatbelts to keep vehicle occupants in a safe position during a crash. Airbags are not effective when the motorist is not belted.