It’s emphasizing the need for backseat passengers to buckle up.
As the Memorial Day Holiday weekend approaches, and a lot of people will be heading out for a three-day vacation, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration is getting the word out about seatbelt safety.
MVA Administrator Christine Nizer says not only should drivers and front seat passengers use their seatbelts, but it’s also important for backseat riders to strap themselves in. “Unfortunately, individuals who are not belted in the backseat can become projectiles in a crash, and can either injure or kill someone in the front seat even if that individual has been buckled,” she said.
During a presentation at Martin State Airport in Middle River on Tuesday, MVA simulated a t-bone crash using crash test dummies to show the dangers of not being belted in while sitting in the backseat. She says a seatbelt keeps passengers secure in their seats in a crash. “Without having that harness to ensure that you remain in your seat, the human body becomes like a projectile and hits other objects within the car, or could potentially be ejected from the car,” says Nizer.
In 2015, traffic fatalities in Maryland increased to 521 from 443 the previous year. “The good news is that the seatbelt usage rate is 93% which is wonderful,” says Nizer. “But unfortunately, when you look at fatalities, about 36% of those individuals who die each year were not wearing their seatbelts. So if Maryland can reach 100% seatbelt usage, about 54 more lives could be saved each year.”
Buckling up is the law in Maryland, and violators can face a fine of $83. “$83 if it’s a lesson learned for an individual, that’s great. The most significant consequence that we’re worried about is being injured or killed in a crash.”