Seat belt laws for backseat passengers could come in 2020

Cropped Photo: Lependorf & Silverstein / MGN
Cropped Photo: Lependorf & Silverstein / MGN(WJRT)
Published: Dec. 17, 2019 at 2:53 PM EST
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December 17, 2019

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) -- Riding in the back seat of a car without buckling up, could get you a ticket come 2020.

Georgia lawmakers are looking at requiring every passenger in a car to wear seat belts.

Buckling up in the front seat has always been a requirement.

Troopers with Georgia State Patrol (GSP) said with an increase of fatal wrecks in the state, there’s no excuse for not buckling up, no matter where you’re sitting.

“But sometimes you don’t need a law, sometimes it’s just good common sense,” said Sgt. Craig Singletary with GSP.

Singletary said passengers in the back are facing the same risks in an accident.

“When an accident occurs, you’re tossed around this vehicle. There are multiple things in this car that can either harm you or kill you,” Singletary explained.

Singletary said the open space in the backseat increases your chances for ejection.

Traffic experts said distracted driving is another reason for an increase of rear-end wrecks.

“It’s the injuries that occur outside of the vehicle as well. So you don’t just have to be concerned about what’s happening in this space you have to be concerned and think ahead that if you are in that kind of accident, where are you going to wind up,” said Singletary.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said on Georgia roads in 2017, 44 percent of the more than 1,000 people who died in crashes were not wearing seat belts.

“All too often, we as state troopers investigate car crashes and we find that the people who are injured are sometimes killed in these accidents and that’s largely because they failed to use their seat belts,” Singletary said.

While we don’t know what will happen after the legislative session, Singletary said the law won’t potentially stop an ejection.

“Nothing is going to keep you as safe as that seat belt,” explained Singletary.

The AJC said Georgia is one of 20 states that doesn’t require adults in the back seat to wear seat belts.