Believe it or not, there are a lot of widely believed myths and misconceptions regarding seat belt use for adult back seat passengers in motor vehicles.  Here’s a quick quiz for you:


  • It is automatically safer to ride in the back seat than the front seat.
  • It is not necessary to buckle your seat belt if you are riding in the backseat.
  • If it is legal for an adult to forgo a seatbelt, that means it must be safe.

Of course, all the answers are a resounding FALSE. This is a good opportunity for adult drivers to educate themselves on the common myths and misconceptions about wearing a seat belt as a passenger in the back seat. This is equally a good opportunity for parents of teen children to give them a reason to buckle up while riding in the back of a friend’s car. Let’s discuss:

  • It is automatically safer to ride in the back seat than the front seat. FALSE


    • It is one of the most common misconceptions that adults riding in the back seat are automatically safer than those riding in the front. There is a reason for this. Just because it is safer for infants, toddlers and young children to be properly restrained in the back, doesn’t automatically make the backseat safer for older teens and adults. There is no magic safe seat in a motor vehicle; it’s important to use the extra precaution of a safety belt. There is still the chance of a rollover crash, or the possibility of being ejected from the window during a crash. In those cases, which are way more common than we think, wearing a seatbelt in the back seat can save a life.


  • It is not necessary to buckle your seatbelt if you are riding in the backseat. FALSE


    • It is estimated that up to 25% of adults forgo a seatbelt if they are a backseat passenger. This misconception that it’s not necessary actually comes from the fact that older model vehicles from the 1960s and 1970s did not necessarily have seat belts put in the backseat by car manufacturers. Therefore, we’ve been conditioned to believe that backseat driving is safer, because we didn’t buckle up as kids in the back, or our parents didn’t. However, with modern cars, especially now that a lot of vehicles have back seat and side airbags, it is actually safer to buckle up.


  • If it is legal for an adult to forgo a seatbelt, that means it must be safe. FALSE


    • According to experts, proper seat belt use saves over 12,000 lives per year. Yes, in the State of Ohio, there is no requirement for adult passengers to wear a seat belt. Just because something is legal, does not make it safe. Tobacco use is legal for adults, but of course that doesn’t make it safe or healthy. There is no question: no matter where you are sitting in a motor vehicle it is always a good decision to wear your seat belt. Whenever I am driving my vehicle with passengers, I always insist they buckle up!  If we all did that, think of how many more lives could be saved a year?

Myths and misconceptions regarding vehicle safety can spread like wildfire, amongst friends and from generation to generation. It’s importance to stick to the facts and rely on expert opinion in regard to seat belt use and back seat passenger safety.

If you or a loved one was injured or killed in an automobile accident due to another driver’s negligence, contact my office immediately. As your Ohio car accident attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at or call at 877.944.4373

Article Name
Importance of Seat Belt Use for Back Seat Passengers
We discuss the myths and misconceptions and compare them to the reality of facts as it pertains to backseat passengers and seat belt use.