Don't Be Fooled: Buckle Up in the Back!

Would you be surprised to hear that, in the year 2012, national estimates find that roughly 25 percent of backseat passengers still don’t buckle up? Or that about half the states in the country only require drivers and front seat passengers to use a seatbelt, despite mounds of evidence demonstrating the benefits of these lifesaving devices?

It appears too many people still cling to the misperception that riding unbelted in the backseat is somehow safe.

In honor of April Fool’s Day, we are launching an effort to confront myths about traffic safety and set the record straight using data and research. The more informed we are, the better equipped we’ll be to make appropriate decisions to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and those with whom we share the road.

So just how misguided isthe belief that seatbelts aren’t important for backseat passengers? Studies have shown that buckling up in the back can reduce your risk of death in a crash by 60-70 percent when traveling in a car or light truck. Moreover, because you yourself can become a dangerous projectile if not properly restrained, your belted friends and family sitting in the front are 20 percentmore likely to die in a crash if you fail to use your seatbelt in the back.

So please, for your safety and the wellbeing of those you’re traveling with, buckle up wherever you’re sitting, every time you get in a vehicle.

Our full announcement of our April Fool’s project, along with details about this first myth, can be found here. We also want to hear from you! Is there a traffic safety myth or misperception you’d like to see confronted, debunked, or confirmed? Leave a comment on this blog, or contact us at, or via Facebook or Twitter. We’ll investigate and periodically publish our findings. And stay tuned – later this month we’ll take a closer look at a myth regarding fatal crashes involving older drivers.