U.S. Regulatory Agency Proposes Rear Seat Belt Requirement

Every year in the United States, thousands of fatalities occur among rear-seat passengers in car accidents due to the lack of seat belt usage. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is looking to change this by proposing a regulation that would require occupants in the back seats of passenger cars, trucks, and some types of buses to wear seat belts.

U.S. Regulatory Agency Proposes Rear Seat Belt Requirement

Currently, 48 out of 50 states in the U.S. have laws that mandate seat belt use for both drivers and front-seat passengers. However, 10 states do not require rear-seat passengers to buckle up. According to the NHTSA, the seat belt usage rate for front seat passengers in the U.S. is approximately 90%, while for rear seat passengers, it’s around 78%.

The proposed new regulation would apply to vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of less than 10,000 pounds (approximately 4,536 kilograms). Part of this new rule requires automakers to have a seat belt warning system for the rear seats, providing both audible and visual alerts at 60-second and 30-second intervals, respectively, if the seat belt remains unfastened after the vehicle is started.

To prevent circumvention of the law, the NHTSA proposes a system that can detect children, adolescents, or adults sitting in the rear seats and identify removable child seats. In the case of child seats, which already have their own seat belts, additional seat belt usage in the vehicle would not be necessary. The standard set is for the detection system to identify a person weighing at least 21 kilograms (approximately 46 pounds) and measuring at least 114 centimeters (approximately 45 inches), which is roughly the size of an average 6-year-old child, the age at which many families transition from child seats.

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Source: ArsTechnica