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AAA: New York legislators should buckle down on seat belt safety


Mon, Mar 12th 2018 01:00 pm
AAA finds 27 unbuckled rear-seat occupants age 16+ killed in NYS in 2016
By AAA of Western and Central New York
Rear-seat occupants who fail to buckle up are three times more likely to be killed, according to new analysis from AAA New York State. In 2016, the number of unbelted rear-seat injuries suffered by adults in New York increased for the first time this decade. In 2016, 27 unbelted rear-seat occupants ages 16-plus were killed and 2,435 were injured (211 seriously), according to data obtained from the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research. Preliminary data for 2017 shows a second consecutive increase.
In total, 10 percent of unbelted rear seat passengers age 16-plus involved in injury crashes were killed or seriously injured, compared with only 4 percent of belted rear-seat passengers of the same age.
"Riding unbelted in the backseat dramatically raises your risk of injury or death," said Alec Slatky, legislative analyst for AAA New York State. "But such risky behavior affects others, as well. Unbelted rear-seat passengers can turn into lethal projectiles that kill other occupants. Seat belts are essential safety features and they should be mandatory for all ages in New York."
AAA urges New York state legislators to approve a lifesaving rear-seat belt requirement in this year's budget, as proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Currently, only children younger than 16 are required to buckle up in the backseat. The Senate and Assembly one-house budget actions are scheduled for release on March 14, and the budget is due by April 1.
Rear-seat belt laws are effective. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported states with rear-seat belt laws consistently boast higher usage rates than states without such laws. And recent research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found most people who don't always buckle up in the back would be more likely to do so if there were a seat belt law.
Seat belt use unequivocally reduces risk of injury and death for all vehicle occupants. Rear seat occupants who fail to buckle up are:
  • 3-times more likely to be killed
  • 8-times more likely to be seriously injured
  • 2-times more likely to kill a front seat occupant by becoming a projectile   
These patterns are replicated in New York. In 2016, only 28 percent of adults in the rear seats of vehicles involved in injury crashes failed to buckle up, but unbelted occupants suffered:
  • 87 percent of fatalities
  • 46 percent of serious injuries
AAA New York State is a federation of four New York AAA clubs. Collectively, these clubs serve over 2.7 million AAA members residing in New York. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the internet at www.AAA.com.

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