Back seat passengers, buckle up!

Posted on September 7, 2018

A survey taken by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that while adults understand it is safer for their children to ride in the back seat properly restrained, they themselves view buckling up as merely an option. In fact, approximately 72 percent of people buckle up in the back seat, versus 91 percent in the front seat. Adults between the age of 35 and 55 buckle up only 66 percent of the time. Four out of five adults who take an Uber, Lyft, or taxi cab never bother to buckle their seat belts.

Massachusetts Seat Belt Law

In the state of Massachusetts, all drivers and passengers must wear seat belts. Exceptions include:

  • Postal workers on duty.
  • Drivers and passengers who have proof from a physician that a disability or medical condition makes wearing a seat belt dangerous or impossible.
  • Taxi, livery, tractor, bus, and truck drivers (the truck must have a gross weight of at least 18,000 lbs).
  • Drivers and passengers of vehicles made before July 1966.
  • Emergency vehicle passengers and police and fire vehicle drivers.

Click It or Ticket, we’ve all seen the commercials. It is a country-wide campaign to encourage more drivers and passengers to buckle their seat belts. It was started in 1993 on a state level by North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt in conjunction with a “primary enforcement safety belt law”, which allows law enforcement officers to issue a safety belt citation, without observing another offense. Surprisingly only 73% of drivers in Massachusetts wear their seat belt. That is one of the lowest percentages in the country. It may have to do with the fact that Massachusetts does not have a primary seat belt law. That means that while seat belts are a requirement for all drivers and passengers in the state, a police officers primary reason for pulling you over cannot be because you are not wearing a seat belt. While you can still get a ticket for not wearing your seat belt, the officer would have had to pull you over for another reason in order to write you a citation.

Why everyone traveling in a vehicle should buckle up.
In a car crash, the laws of physics still apply for back seat passengers and create significant risks for injuries and fatalities. These risks and injuries include ejection from the vehicle, head trauma, skull fractures, broken bones, neck injuries and facial lacerations. In 2016, the percentages of unbelted deaths increased 4.6% to 10,428 for that year. It is estimated that almost 2,500 of those fatalities could have been avoided if seat belts were used. For adults and older children, seat belt use is one of the most effective ways to save lives and reduce injuries in car crashes.

Your car should have working seat belts. Every so often, you should perform a visual inspection and also sit in each seat to make sure each belt is working. If your seat belts are not working, call your dealership to have them repaired. Be sure to wear your seat belt on every trip, no matter how short. Insist that all children and other passengers do as well. As a driver, you carry a lot of influence when it comes to safety and seat belt use, especially if you are a parent. As your children get older, they will start to buckle themselves in, but you’ll want to continue to check their seat belt before you start driving. Make sure the straps are not tangled or jamming. For parents of younger children, always engage the child lock and lock your power windows so children cannot operate them from the back seat.

With offices in Chelsea and Salem, MA, Spada Law Group provides Boston quality legal representation without the commute into the city with free on-premises or fully validated parking. We are here to answer any questions you may have. Call Spada Law Group today at 617-889-5000 to discuss your situation. The consultation is free and there is absolutely no obligation to hire us. We are open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm.
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