Three Nevada drivers died in rollover crashes this July while not wearing a seat belt. The crashes on Southern Nevada highways each involved occupants who were thrown from the vehicle as it turned upside down along the road. Unfortunately, this very decision to buckle up is one many people are still not taking seriously, especially if they are sitting in the back seat.
The terrible scenario played out on Nevada’s interstates is an unfortunately common one: annually more than half the people who die in passenger vehicle crashes are unbelted, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Refreshingly, long term safety campaigns urging seat belt use have made a positive difference. A recent IIHS survey showed 91 percent of adults say they wear a seat belt in the front of a car.
However, this number drops when they are seated in back and it takes a precarious dip as passengers in a hired car. The survey revealed 73 percent of adults wear a seat belt when sitting in the backseat, while only 57 percent buckle up as a passenger in a taxi or ride-hailing service.
According to IIHS’ research, it is commonly assumed that the back seat is safer than the front. In reality, unbelted passengers in a car are three times more likely to die in an accident. In fact, crash test videos show beltless passengers create havoc during an accident as they fly into the front seat, forcing the driver into the steering wheel and pinning them between the airbag.
According to Forbes Magazine, passengers admitted hearing an audible reminder to belt up would make them more likely to do so, although merely three percent of U.S. cars are equipped with systems to alert passengers seated in the rear to buckle.
The bottom line is that Nevada law requires all passengers and drivers, both in the front and back seat of a car or truck wear a seatbelt. By choosing not to wear a seatbelt, individuals are endangering both themselves and the vehicle’s other occupants.
It’s a simple idea with a simple solution: Remind your love ones, guests, and passengers to buckle up for their safety and yours. It could be the best thing you’ve ever said.
Steve is the Managing Shareholder of Steven J. Klearman & Associates, a civil litigation law firm located in Reno, Nevada. He practices primarily in the areas of civil litigation and injury law, and has authored one of the definitive guides to Nevada civil law that is widely used by Nevada judges and attorneys, his book entitled Elements of Nevada Legal Theories.