Passengers depend on drivers to avoid accidents, and can pursue claims when crashes happen. Unfortunately, passengers are at serious risk of an injury when a collision happens, especially if those passengers are not wearing their seat belts at the time the accident occurs. Governors’ Highway Safety Association just recently published a comprehensive report recently highlighting the dangers that back seat passengers face when unbuckled. The report shows how many people in the backs of cars aren’t wearing belts and are experiencing traumatic injury as a result.
If you are a passenger in a car and an accident happens, it is important to understand how to get your injury costs covered. You can pursue a claim for compensation for losses, regardless of whether or not you had a seat belt on, but you must understand what your rights are and how to make your case. An Atlanta car accident lawyer can help you.
Unlocked Passengers Face Big Risks of Atlanta Car Accidents
According to Governors’ Highway Safety Association (GHSA), “Each year, hundreds of unbelted adults in the rear seats of passenger vehicles are killed – and hundreds more seriously injured.”
In 2013, for example, there were 883 passengers aged eight and older who were killed in auto accidents when they were in the back seat of a car without a seat belt on. GHSA estimates that more than 400 of these back seat passengers who died in auto accidents would be alive today if they had their seat belt on at the time when the accident occurred. The risk of death is three times greater for a person in the back seat who is not buckled up at the time of the accident, so the chances of death are obviously much higher just by choosing not to buckle.
Despite the importance of buckling up in the back seat, 32 states throughout the country do not have clear and strong laws requiring passengers in the back seat of the car wear seat belts. The lack of uniform, clear laws requiring belt use helps to contribute to popular myths that the back seat is somehow safer than the front and to myths suggesting it isn’t really that important for rear passengers to be buckled. Because so many people have misconceptions about back seat safety, only around 78 percent of adults say they make it a point to buckle up in the back, as compared with 87 percent who buckle their seat belt while riding in the front seat of the car.
GHSA indicates that the risks to back seat drivers can be especially significant during the holiday season, as many people take road trips to see family and end up with adults or older children riding unbuckled in the back seat on these road trips. The increase in the number of people using ride sharing services has also exacerbated the problem, as many people who get into a Lyft or Uber car do not think about buckling up in the back seat of the vehicle.
When a passenger is hurt while riding in the back seat without a seat belt, that passenger is still entitled to full compensation for injury. Victims should speak with a legal professional to find out how to get car accident costs covered.
The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent victims after a collision. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.