You probably remember to buckle up when you’re driving, but what about when you’re in the back of someone else’s car?
A new survey from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found more than a quarter of adults don’t always use their seat belts in the back seat.
It only takes a few seconds to get strapped in. Yet buckling up is not always a priority for backseat passengers.
Sioux Falls Police Officer Brant Van Dyke says he sees it all the time.
“A lot of people in town think that hey if I’m going 20 to 30 miles an hour down the street. I don’t have to wear a seatbelt because I’m not going to get injured,” Van Dyke said.
That’s not always the case. Van Dyke says backseat passengers are just as likely to be killed in a crash as drivers.
“The problem with not being buckled in the back seat is if you’re in a crash, yes you may not go through the windshield because you have the seats in front of you to stop you but the problem is you’re flying forward,” Van Dyke said.
Without a seatbelt, you could be ejected from the car or suffer the blunt impact of hitting the seat in front of you.
If you’re over the age of 18, however, South Dakota state law doesn’t require you buckle up in the back seat. Nonetheless, Officer Van Dyke still encourages adult passengers to think smart.
“Actually I feel that it would be beneficial to have a law regarding that because the whole purpose of the seatbelt laws is for safety,” Van Dyke said.
A simple click could save your life.
“I know people have their reason for not wearing seatbelts whether it be uncomfortable or they forget or whatever the case. It could absolutely be the difference between you dying and not dying,” Van Dyke said.
Federal crash statistics show passengers in the rear are three times more likely to die if they aren’t wearing a seat belt.