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Bertoldo, Baker, Carter & Smith - personal injury lawyers in Las Vegas, NV
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Seat Belt Use Critical for Front and Rear Seat Passengers

We’ve all heard the PSAs encouraging us to buckle up every time we get into a car. Not only do we know that we should do so for our own safety, we also know that it’s against the law not to wear a seat belt in Nevada. All the same, many Nevadans forgo a seat belt, especially when riding as passengers in the back seat. Surveys show that many Americans believe that they don’t need seat belts when riding in the back, but accident research tells a different story. Read on to learn about the risk of skipping a seat belt, and contact a Las Vegas injury attorney if you’ve been hurt in a Las Vegas auto accident.

Passengers skip belts, believing back seats are safer

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a nationwide survey, looking at the rates of seat belt use among passengers riding in the back seat as compared to the front. The researchers found that 90% of people wore a seat belt every time they rode as a passenger in the front of the car, but that only 72% of people put on a seat belt every time that they rode in the back seat. When the 28% of respondents who failed to regularly wear a seat belt were asked why they skipped the restraint, 25% said that they believed that sitting in the back seat was safer, making a seat belt unnecessary. Another 22% said that they found seat belts uncomfortable or difficult to use. 13% explained that it wasn’t a habit of theirs to wear a seat belt, and 9% said that they skipped a belt because they weren’t legally required to wear one.

Failure to wear a seat belt threatens both unrestrained passengers and others in the car

Unfortunately, while many people may believe that rear seats are safer, this isn’t necessarily the case. Rear seat passengers who don’t wear a seat belt are eight times as likely to suffer a serious injury when involved in a crash as those who are restrained. Not only are they more likely to be hurt, but so are others in the car. A driver with an unrestrained back seat passenger is twice as likely to die in a crash compared to when all passengers are restrained.

Seat belt evidence not admissible in a lawsuit for damages

In some states, negligent drivers who are sued for causing a car accident will claim that the injured driver or passenger wasn’t wearing a seat belt and therefore should be held responsible for their own injuries. Injury victims then have to prove that they would have been injured even if they were wearing a seat belt. In Nevada, this so-called “seat belt defense” is prohibited by law, and evidence about whether an injury victim was or was not wearing a seat belt is not allowed in court. This approach keeps responsibility for the accident focused on the negligent driver who caused the crash by speeding, distracted driving, or other negligent or reckless behavior.

If you’ve been injured in a Nevada motor vehicle accident, find out if you’re entitled to money damages by contacting the knowledgeable and skilled personal injury lawyers at the Las Vegas offices of Bertoldo, Baker, Carter & Smith for a consultation, at 702-228-2600.

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