Rear-seat passengers still ignoring seat belts, study finds

What the hell is wrong with people?

Andrew Krok Reviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Andrew Krok
2 min read

It's sort of crazy to think that, in this day and age, people still think seat belts aren't worth the effort. Yet according to a new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, it appears plenty of folks still refuse to buckle up, at least in the back seat.

Of the 1,172 respondents polled who have been in the back seat of a car in the last six months, 28 percent claimed that they don't always buckle up, the IIHS reports. Only 9 percent of that group said they don't always wear a seat belt in the front seat, which is better, but still a bit surprising.

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Looks like Team Rocket's blasting off again!


The group least likely to buckle up in the back is adults between the age of 35 and 54. Only two-thirds of this group admitted to always using a rear seat belt. Women were more likely to buckle up than men, and college graduates across both sexes were also more likely to use the seat belt.

You might be screaming, "Why?!" in your head. Well, according to those who admitted to using rear seat belts less, a quarter responded that they believed the back seat was safer. The next most popular excuse was, believe it or not, ignorance. Either they forget to put it on or they simply don't. 10 percent of respondents claimed the belt was too difficult to use, or they couldn't find the belt or buckle.

Nearly 40 percent of rear-seat-belt-ignoring respondents claimed they don't buckle up because there isn't a law against it. Strangely enough, only 60 percent of that group said they would buckle up if there was such a law in their state.

"People who don't use safety belts might think their neglect won't hurt anyone else. That's not the case," said Jessica Jermakian, an IIHS research engineer, in a statement. "In the rear seat a lap/shoulder belt is the primary means of protection in a frontal crash. Without it, bodies can hit hard surfaces or other people at full speed, leading to serious injuries."