While more Americans have fastened their seat belts in recent years, nationwide traffic fatalities still continue to increase. From over 39,000 in 2020, motor vehicle deaths escalated to almost 43,000 in 2021. In New Jersey, more than 1,500 unbelted vehicle occupants died in 10 years.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) figures that improved safety measures can begin in strengthened seat belt use.
Seat belts secure drivers and passengers from sudden motions and stops forceful enough to eject them from their seats. NHTSA categorizes unbelted car occupants into part-time and hard-core nonusers.
Part-time nonusers recognize seat belt benefits, but forget to use them only because they are in a rush or think their trip’s too short for an accident to occur. Conversely, hard-core users strongly oppose seat belt use due to discomfort or refusal to believe it makes a difference.
By proposing a new rule enhancing seat belt warning systems for front and rear passengers, NHTSA aims to combat the continuous rise in vehicular crash numbers.
Requirements for implementation
Aside from updating existing driver seat belt warnings, the proposed law requires manufacturers of cars, trucks, buses and other vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less to implement the following for passenger seats:
- Rear seats
- At least a 60-second visual warning notifying the driver of the rear seat belt status
- At least a 30-second audio-visual warning notifying the driver when rear passenger unfastened their seat belt during transport
- Front seats
- An audio-visual warning that goes on until both driver and passenger are belted before the vehicle is operational
- An audio-visual warning that goes on until both driver and passenger are belted after unfastening for a time
Other details of the warning system, like frequency and volume, proven applicable to their customer base are the manufacturer’s choice.
Buckle up, save lives
By learning what this new law means for you and your loved ones, you can be part of the solution geared toward saving lives on the road. After all, prevention is always better than facing severe injuries and other financial losses due to noncompliance with the law. In the case of a tragic collision, your counsel can guide you on your legal options for fair compensation recovery.