Under current law in Connecticut only kids under the age of 16 in the backseat must wear a seat belt. This means that if you are older than 16 and riding in the backseat of any vehicle you do not have to wear your seat belt under current state law.
Many in the state feel that it is very difficult to tell an adult what to do when they are sitting in the backseat of a vehicle. Those same people will need to make a concerted effort to pay attention to the law if it changes. They will need to try to remember to put on their seat belt each time they get in the backseat of a vehicle.
Believe it or not, only 29 states including the District of Columbia passed laws regarding backseat seat belt usage, according to AAA, which claims that seat belts do save lives. If this law passes, Connecticut will be playing catch up with the states that have already passed such a law, especially as the current seat belt law is 33-years-old.
House Bill 5161 unanimously passed the General Assembly’s Public Health Committee and is being supported by AAA. According to the bill, if you are riding in the backseat of a vehicle and not wearing a seat belt you are three times more likely to die and eight times more likely to suffer a serious injury. It is not clear when the House of Representatives will vote on the bill. The current session ends in May.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health has also spoken out in favor of the bill, which has been recommended by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Department of Public Health believes that some 100 of the 270 motor vehicle deaths each year in Connecticut could be saved if all occupants wear seat belts no matter where they sit.
Motor vehicle crashes can cause serious injuries and even death. The level of injuries and number of deaths can be reduced if everyone wears seat belts when riding in the front or back seat.
Sean Barrett, of Billings and Barrett has represented hundreds of clients facing misdemeanor and felony cases ranging from minor public disturbances to violent assaults to felony drug charges. Located in New Haven, Connecticut, and with multiple locations throughout the state, Billings and Barrett can be found on Facebook and Instagram discussing Connecticut law.