Letter to Editor Regarding Seatbelts

August 21, 2017

To the Editor, As Labor Day approaches, people find themselves wrapping up the summer by traveling with their families. In light of that, I would like to stress how important it is to remain safe during these last few days of travel by buckling up. Recent studies by Dr. Masao Ichikawa, of Tokyo University have shown that unbelted back seat passengers pose the biggest threat to passengers in the front seats. In fact, the risks of dying increase fivefold for front passengers if the back passengers are not buckled in a collision. This risk is even greater if the collision is head on, as the risks of dying are increased six or seven times. According to Ichikawa’s studies, approximately 80 percent of deaths of belted front seat occupants could have been prevented if the back seat passengers were wearing seatbelts. I am writing to you about this because currently, seatbelts in New York are required for front seat passengers and children in the back seats of cars, but are not required for adults seated in the back seats. While there have been movements encouraging seatbelt usage in past years, seatbelts are used 20% less in back seats than they are in front seats. According to a study, adults aged 35 to 54 are the least likely to wear seatbelts while occupying the back seat of a car. In one of my recent surveys, out of the 1,226 people who responded, 70.8% of them were in favor of a law that would require all passengers in the front and back seats to buckle-up. Similar laws are in place in 29 other states. Due to the severe danger and risk that unbelted passengers have on front seat passengers, I encourage people to support such legislation in order to make traveling safer for everyone. Regardless, the decision to wear a seatbelt extends far beyond the safety of oneself. So buckle up!
Sincerely, photo Sandra R. Galef NYS Assemblywoman Assembly District 95