Why You Should Always Make Your Back Seat Passengers Buckle Up

You roll up to meet your friends in your old Honda Accord, and they climb in.

"Uh, excuse me?" says a sarcastic voice in the back seat. Tom quirks an eyebrow at you in the rearview mirror.

"Oh, right! Sorry, I threw that blanket over the seat for my dog," you reply. Why do you always forget to clean the car? "I'll move it so you can get to the seat belt."

"Don't worry about it, we're late for the movie."

"Alright, it's your life," you say, shaking your head as you shift into drive.

This scene is familiar, isn't it? Even if you don't know a Tom, or own a dog. You've probably been in a car with someone who decided it was fine not to wear their seat belt—usually with the rationale that only their own life is in danger, and they're not scared.

It turns out, however, that unbuckled passengers are not just risking their own lives, but endangering every other occupant as well. An IIHS crash test video posted earlier this month shows how a passenger's body becomes a deadly projectile. Even at the relatively low speed of the test (35 mph), the rear passenger struck the driver's seat with such force, the seat collapsed forward. Other studies of real-world traffic fatalities reveal that drivers are twice as likely to be killed when the passenger behind them isn't wearing a seat belt.

Tags: safety

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