According to the Connecticut Crash Data Repository’s reports for the Connecticut Department of Transportation, annual injuries due to auto accidents are steadily rising. In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals that while people nationwide are driving at increasingly higher speeds, fewer are wearing seatbelts.
Connecticut lawmakers hope to reverse these trends by reducing auto-related injuries and fatalities with stricter seat belt laws.
What are the new seat belt laws?
As of October 2021, Connecticut no longer gives adults riding in a car’s second or third row the option to buckle up. Instead, public Act No.21-175 includes a provision mandating passengers of all ages must wear safety restraints, or drivers risk fines. Although traffic officers may not stop drivers specifically for seat belt violations, stops for other offenses, including speeding, could lead to $50 tickets for drivers over age 18 and $75 tickets for drivers under age 18. These fines are on top of any other violation penalties.
How does the new law help?
Connecticut crash statistics between June 2016 and June 2021 confirm that most backseat fatalities involve passengers choosing not to wear available seatbelts. However, this number does not reflect fatalities resulting when unrestrained rear-seat passengers turn into dangerous projectiles crashing forcefully into other passengers.
Prior laws only consider safety restraints for back seat passengers under 16. However, the rise in ridesharing users makes the new rules essential for reducing severe injuries and fatalities among adults riding in both rear and front seats.
The new seatbelt law can reduce auto-related injuries and fatalities, but it may not eliminate them. Therefore, it is necessary to remember that you may qualify to receive damages for your injuries.