MIAMI – It started out as a simple question – how often do people wear a seat belt in the back seat? Knowing that more states have enacted laws requiring rear-seat passengers to wear seat belts, LeaseTrader.com’s customer advisor specialists were curious to know how effective these laws are considering all the attention given to people in the front seat of a vehicle.
LeaseTrader.com, the nation’s most popular car leasing marketplace, polled more than 1,000 men and women each throughout the country, including states with and without rear-seat restraint laws. Adult participants in the poll said they rode in the back seat of a vehicle at least 25 times throughout 2010.
Among states like Kansas which also have a rear-seat restraint law (Texas, Minnesota and California), men said they wore a seat belt just 14.3 percent of the time, while women said they wore one 18.4 percent of the time. Among states that do not have a law in place (Ill., Ariz., Tenn., Ga., Penn.), the percentage dropped almost 10-percent for men and 16.3 percent for women. Conversely, the same people polled said they wear a seat belt while in the front seat 75.2 percent of the time.
As for reasons why men and women opted against the use of a rear-seat restraint belt, forgetting to use the seat belt was the answer most often used (63.2% of all responses). Other reasons were cited, such as ‘felt it wasn’t necessary’ (13.4%), ‘didn’t think it was the law’ (9.8%) and ‘felt plenty safe without it’ (8.6%).
"What’s most disturbing is that in this day and age of always-on news coverage and awareness, there is no excuse why more people aren’t wearing seat belts in all parts of the vehicle," said Sergio Stiberman, CEO and founder of LeaseTrader.com. "Whether it’s the local television news or an online news source, we see daily images and stories of people getting hurt while driving or riding in a vehicle which should serve as a remainder of why it’s important to buckle up."
Does the driver have a responsibility to make sure all passengers are buckled up, including those in the rear seats? According to the poll, the driver did not remind back seat passengers to buckle up roughly 75 percent of the time.