You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s time to buckle up. This time, however, the message is directed to your backseat passengers.
The new law, known as Public Act No. 21-174, was signed into law by Governor Ned Lamont, and it goes into effect on Oct. 1, 2021 — which is right around the corner. Under the new law, all adult passengers (not just minors) in a vehicle must wear their safety restraints.
The law still makes seat belt violations for back seat passengers a secondary violation — meaning that a police officer cannot pull a car over simply because they see unrestrained adults in the back seat. However, a police officer can issue an additional ticket and fine if they pull the car over for another reason.
Why are back seat safety restraints so important?
Essentially, it comes down to this: It’s foolish not to wear a seat belt in the back of a modern vehicle. Back seat passengers who are unrestrained don’t have anything to prevent them from being flung over their seats in a bad crash — and that can put them right through the vehicle’s window.
Back seat passengers who are unrestrained are eight times as likely to be seriously hurt or even killed in a wreck than those who are restrained. This makes “buckling up” the wise move for everybody.
Buckling up is also smart for another reason: If you’re wearing your seat belt when you’re in a car wreck that another driver causes, you give their insurance company less room to argue that you’re at least partially responsible for your own injuries. That can prevent them from devaluing your claim.