HARTFORD, Conn. —
Fasten your seatbelts – taking effect in October, a new law requires everyone in a vehicle to buckle up, even in the backseat.
AAA says they applaud Connecticut lawmakers' passage of the mandatory rear seatbelt bill, which was a provision recommended Department of Transportation.
The measure received strong bipartisan support and was signed by Governor Lamont Tuesday morning.
A coalition of groups, including AAA, first responders, hospitals, health departments and traffic safety advocates lobbied aggressively for the new law. Advocates say it will save countless lives.
“This is a significant step forward for Connecticut in reducing serious injuries and fatalities involving unbelted rear passengers,” Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford, said in a statement. “Given the sharp increase in fatalities on our roadways last year and given the number of adults now riding in the back seats of Ubers and Lyfts, passage of this lifesaving measure is cause for celebration.”
In the mid-80's, Connecticut was one of the first states to enact a front seat belt law. Since then, the state has fallen behind the rest of the nation in extending those protections to the back seat.
AAA says most states require all back seat passengers to buckle up.
“We know that not everyone will buckle up just because it is the law, but we also know that there is greater rear seatbelt usage in states where such a law exists,” Parmenter said.
According to UConn Crash Data, since 2010, more than 2,000 unbelted back seat passengers have been injured or killed.
AAA says unbelted passengers in the back seat can also become projectiles in a crash, seriously injuring or killing those who are buckled up in the front.
Connecticut’s new rear seat belt law is only subject to secondary enforcement.
This means law enforcement cannot pull a driver over for an unbelted rear seat passenger, and a ticket can only be issued for the unbelted passenger if the driver is pulled over for another offense, like speeding.
AAA says it, and its traffic safety partners, will engage in a far-reaching public education campaign to ensure all vehicle occupants are aware of the new law. Both operators and passengers need to buckle up in every seat, every time.
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