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A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has found that passengers sitting in rear seats might be at higher risk of injuries and death than drivers or front passengers in certain crash scenarios.
Explaining this somewhat surprising result, the IIHS noted that most crash tests have focused on the driver and front-seat passenger. While car manufacturers go to great lengths to improve safety for front-seat occupants, rear passengers have gotten much less attention. The IIHS noted that rear passengers get less airbag protection than drivers and front passengers. Backseat seatbelt designs are often less effective.
“Manufacturers have put a lot of work into improving protection for drivers and front-seat passengers. [Testing] is a big reason why. We hope this new evaluation will spur similar progress in the back seat,” IIHS President David Harkey said in announcing the study results.
Connecticut has decided to address this problem by expanding its seatbelt law. Beginning October 1, all passengers will be required to buckle up, no matter where they are seated in the vehicle. Governor Ned Lamont signed this expanded seatbelt law on July 12 as part of a bipartisan State Department of Transportation bill.
When the new law takes effect, drivers 18 and older could incur a $50 fine for each unbuckled back seat passenger. Drivers under 18 may be fined $75 for each unbuckled rear passenger.
“There’s overwhelming evidence that seat-belt use reduces motor vehicle fatalities and serious injuries,” said Alec Slatky, director of public and government affairs for AAA Northeast. “Now, unbelted rear-seat passengers no longer will be back-seat ‘bullets’ in crashes.”
However, the new law will only receive secondary enforcement, which means police cannot pull over a vehicle simply because someone in the back seat is unbuckled. Instead, police can only enforce the law if they have first pulled over the car for a different violation.
As experienced auto accident attorneys, we have seen the devastating effects suffered by unbuckled passengers and we hope this new law will reduce the number of people getting hurt.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a Connecticut car accident, please call Gesmonde, Pietrosimone & Sgrignari, L.L.C. at 203-745-0942 or contact us online to speak with one of our Hamden or East Haven lawyers. We will analyze your case and help you recover the compensation available.
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Gesmonde, Pietrosimone & Sgrignari, L.L.C. is located in Hamden, CT and serves clients in and around North Haven, Hamden, Waterbury, Bethany, Milford, Wallingford, Prospect, Woodbridge, Northford, Madison, Beacon Falls, Branford, Cheshire, North Branford, East Haven, Naugatuck, Meriden, Ansonia and New Haven County.
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