FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 31, 2022
CONTACT: Pete Daniels / firstname.lastname@example.org / 301-442-2249 (C)
Statement of Cathy Chase, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), on New Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Ratings Program for Seat Belt Reminders
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) commends the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for implementing a new ratings program on seat belt reminder systems in passenger vehicles. The evaluations provide invaluable information to consumers seeking the safest seat belt reminder systems. The IIHS estimates up to 1,500 lives a year could be saved by improved seat belt reminders.
Relatedly, Advocates successfully fought for rear seat belt reminder systems in new vehicles, a requirement enacted in MAP-21 (Pub. L. 112-141). We urge the U.S. Department of Transportation to immediately complete this rulemaking which is more than six years overdue. In sharp contrast, the European Union has required seat belt reminder systems in all front and rear seats on new cars since September 2019. Additionally, Advocates urges state legislatures to review and upgrade their seat belt laws to require all occupants to buckle up. A 2017 IIHS poll found that nearly 40 percent of people sometimes don’t buckle up in the rear seat because there is no law requiring it. If such a law existed, 60 percent of those surveyed said it would convince them to use seat belts in the back seat. To learn more about which states have enacted optimal seat belt use laws and which are in need of improvements, see our 2022 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws.
Seat belts are the first line of defense against injury or death in the event of a crash. Tragically, in 2020 more than half of the passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes were unbuckled (10,893 people), when restraint use was known. Lack of seat belt use has been a contributing factor to skyrocketing crash fatalities on our roadways in recent years, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Seat belts are proven lifesavers. Steps can and must be taken to ensure everyone is buckled up on every ride.
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is an alliance of consumer, medical, public health, law enforcement and safety groups and insurance companies and agents working together to make America’s roads safer. Advocates’ mission is the adoption of federal and state laws, policies and programs that prevent motor vehicle crashes, save lives, reduce injuries, and contain costs.