Legislation that would require all back seat passengers to wear seat belts sailed through Connecticut's General Assembly on March 19. A public health committee voted unanimously in favor of the bill that would widen the state's seat-belt law to cover everyone riding in a motor vehicle, reports the New Haven Register.
Currently Connecticut law requires drivers, front seat passengers and children under the age of 16 — no matter where they are seated — to wear seat belts. Under the new legislation, all backseat passengers regardless of age would be have to buckle up.
If the bill ultimately becomes law, Connecticut will join the District of Colombia and 29 other states that presently mandate all back seat passengers wear seat belts.
A pioneer in seat-belt legislation, Connecticut was among the first states to enact a requirement in 1985. The state's Department of Public Health believes it is time to expand the law, noting that more than 100 of the 270 crash-related fatalities that occur in Connecticut each year could be saved if everyone in the vehicle wore a seat belt, reports the Register.
The push for the Connecticut legislation, which awaits action in the House, is set against a national landscape marked by multiple efforts to promote seat-belt compliance and improve safety.