Hawk Law Group | April 12, 2022 | Georgia Law
Every time you get on the road, you face the risk of a car accident. One of the only proactive measures you can take to protect yourself in the event of a car crash is to wear your seat belt. Not using a seat belt can have catastrophic consequences if you’re in a car accident.
A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed the use of seat belts and their effectiveness in car crashes. According to the results, seat belts are the best way for adults and children over eight years old to combat death or severe injuries in a car accident.
What Are the Consequences of Not Wearing a Seat Belt in the Back Seat?
Despite the risks associated with not wearing a seat belt, many car passengers in Georgia refuse to buckle up in the back seat. Seat belts might not seem necessary if you’re riding in the back of a car. However, backseat passengers not wearing seat belts is a cause for concern in Georgia.
A report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) showed backseat passengers who don’t wear seat belts are three times more likely to die in a car accident. Although it isn’t a legal requirement, car accident deaths are much more likely to be prevented if backseat riders wear their seat belts.
What Are Georgia’s Seat Belt Laws?
The seat belt laws in Georgia are outlined in the Official Code of Georgia (O.C.G.A.) § 40-8-76.1. In Georgia, passengers over 18 years old do not have to wear a seat belt if they ride in the back seat. However, the driver and anyone sitting in the front seat must wear a seat belt in a passenger car.
In Georgia, a “passenger car” is considered any vehicle designed to carry fewer than ten people and includes vans, trucks, and SUVs. The law does not consider motorcycles to be passenger vehicles. Off-road vehicles and pickup trucks used for agricultural purposes are not classified as passenger vehicles either.
If you or one of your passengers is caught not wearing a seat belt in Georgia, it’s a traffic violation. The first time this happens, you can get three points on your license. There are also fines associated with a driver or passenger not wearing a seat belt.
What About Children Riding in the Back Seat?
Children between the ages of 6 and 17 must wear a seat belt in a car. It doesn’t matter if they’re sitting in the front or back seat of the vehicle. Additionally, children under six years old have to use appropriate safety restraints based on their height and weight. For example, they might need to sit in a federally approved booster seat.
Importance of Wearing Seat Belts in Georgia
Driving in Georgia can be dangerous, even if you’re wearing a seat belt at all times. In the first six months of 2021, there were almost 1,000 car accident deaths in Georgia, according to the National Safety Council. That statistic represents close to a 30% increase in car accident fatalities compared to 2020.
Although it’s legal in Georgia for backseat passengers to go without a seat belt, the danger associated with not buckling up is life-threatening. If you are driving a car, it is essential to encourage everyone to wear a seat belt, no matter where they sit.
The simple act of buckling your seat belt can save your life. It should be an automatic action when driving in Georgia. Just because something might not be required by law doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea.
You should practice any precaution you can take to prevent serious injury or death from a car accident every time you get into any car.
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