Seat belt reminders for those in the front seats have been around since the 1970s and more recently have caught on with roughly 75% of new cars coming with the safety feature. But soon that chime, bing or ding could be coming to the rear seats as well.
Currently a select few cars, like the Volvo S60 and Chevrolet Volt, have rear seat passenger seatbelt reminders, though a new bill that passed Congress early in July is calling for, “a safety belt use warning system for designated seating positions in the rear seat.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is actively examining the future of such systems, telling Cars.com that, “The agency is in the early stages of establishing performance requirements for rear seat belt reminder systems.”
The reason for the proposed legislation is the risk that unbuckled passengers can become dangerous projectiles in a crash. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, having unbucked passengers increases the risk of injury or death to other occupants by as much as 40% in a crash.
Back seat passengers are also less likely to buckle-up says a report by NHTSA, with a seatbelt use rate of 74% compared to 83% for front seat passengers.
Seat belt use is an obvious way to stay safe and reminder chimes have also shown to be effective. According to a 2007 NHTSA study, seatbelt reminders improve seatbelt use by 3.7 percent while an IIHS study from 2010 shows that driver fatality rates are 6% lower in vehicles with seatbelt reminder systems.