Belt Up, Back Seat Passengers!

Before we begin, here’s a link to the Singapore Police Force Seat Belt Rule FAQ.

If you care for your friends and family’s safety more than your own comfort. Here’s why:

When back seat passengers use seatbelts, not only do they reduce their mortality risk, they also reduce the mortality risk of the driver and front seat passenger. An unsecured passenger is another projectile, one that uses the front seat passengers as a crude form of airbag.

J. recently read about this in the July 2007 issue of Reader’s Digest in an article titled:

Hidden Dangers In Your Car – When Everyday Objects Turn Deadly

Interested, he decided to surf the Internet for research articles done on the subject.

  1. J Mayrose, D Jehle, M Hayes, D Tinnesz, G Piazza, GE Wilding. Influence of the Unbelted Rear-seat Passenger on Driver Mortality: “The Backseat Bullet”. Acad Emerg Med Volume 12, Issue2 130-134,:

    Basically, in front collisions, the driver has 2.28 times of dying with an unsecured rear seat passenger, who also has an increased risk of death. This is less significant in side collisions.

  2. M Ichikawa, S Nakahara, S Wakai. Mortality of front-seat occupants attributable to unbelted rear-seat passengers in car crashes. Lancet. 2002 Jan 5;359(9300):43-4.

    The risk of death of belted front-seat occupants with unbelted rear-seat passengers was raised nearly five-fold.

Certain friends of J. have said that they would not automatically put on a seat belt in another friend’s car unless that friend specifically requests them to do so. There’s a few reasons:

  1. “it’s uncomfortable to wear a seatbelt”

    It’s a ridiculously selfish reason, and only [barely] understandable if they do not realise that they are increasing mortality risks for both their friends and themselves for as trivial a matter as mild discomfort.

  2. “They (the traffic police) don’t catch anyone anymore”

    This shows the main motivation for putting on seatbelts would be to avoid being caught by the traffic police, which demonstrates a lack of understanding of the reasons for using seatbelts.

Nonsense. Don’t be selfish now, y’hear?

P.S. Clutter in the car can also be deadly in a car accident. J. notes the presence of a friend’s notebook computer in the rear seat of her car… a 2.5kg solid object that would make a devasting projectile at 60km/h.


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