In an earlier post, we outlined a number of new Illinois laws that recently went into effect with the start of 2012. One of those laws requires that everyone in a vehicle buckle up, including backseat riders. Previously, backseat riders over 18 were exempt from the requirement to use a seatbelt, but effective January 1, 2012, in most cases everyone in a moving car has to buckle up.
Why was this law passed? As explained in a Chicago Sun-Times article, the goal is to protect the lives of backseat riders as well as those who sit in the front of a car:
Just like unrestrained front-seat riders, back-seat passengers who aren’t buckled up during an accident can suffer head, chest and abdominal trauma.
“And they can be thrown from the vehicle, said James Doherty, medical director of trauma and critical care programs at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.
Back-seat passengers also can become human projectiles during a crash, injuring or even killing others in the vehicle, he said.
The intent behind the law is sound, and based on statistics regarding car crashes, the law will undoubtedly reduce the number of crash-related injuries. As discussed in the article, seat belts reduce injuries related to automobile accidents by up to 50%.
There are a few exceptions to the new law, however. These include riders with a doctor’s excuse and “emergency vehicles, buses, taxis and passengers in delivery trucks that make frequent stops and that don’t exceed 15 mph…(and) people riding in a motor vehicle from 1965 or earlier.”
So, buckle up Illinois! You’ll avoid a traffic infarction and possibly avoid serious injuries in the event of a car accident.