Buckling up may be the first thing most people do when they get in a car, but the latest poll from Seattle-based PEMCO Insurance finds that a significant number of backseat passengers don't always wear seatbelts, with many pointing to short trips as their excuse for the dangerous behavior.
The PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll finds that a majority of respondents (90 percent) believe wearing a seatbelt makes trips much safer, and nearly all drivers and front-seat passengers say they always buckle up.
However, almost one in five respondents in Washington and Oregon (18 percent) say they don't always wear their seatbelt when riding in the backseat. And when asked where they're more likely to wear a seatbelt – the front or the back – 18 percent also say they're more likely to buckle up in the front seat.
"We're glad to see that most people here take seatbelt safety seriously, but it's still shocking to see that a considerable number knowingly take a risk by choosing not to buckle up in the back. Wearing your seatbelt isn't just for your safety, but for everyone else in the car, too, as the momentum of a crash could launch you into the driver or another passenger," said PEMCO Spokesperson Derek Wing.
Among those who admit to not wearing a seatbelt, one-third (33 percent) say they skip it when they think rides are too short to worry about wearing it, another third (35 percent) blame not being able to find it, and one-quarter (25 percent) say they simply forget.
A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) suggests the popularity of ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft may be influencing passengers' seatbelt behaviors, as well.
According to IIHS data, of those who don't always wear seatbelts in the back, 4 out of 5 passengers nationwide say short trips or traveling by taxi or rideshare services are times they choose not to wear a seatbelt. And those who said that most of their trips as a rear-seat passenger took place in hired vehicles were less likely to report they always wear their seatbelt (57 percent) compared to passengers riding in personal vehicles (74 percent).
Though seatbelts have long been shown to save lives, IIHS reports that more than half of the people who die in passenger vehicle crashes in the U.S. each year are unbelted. Despite this alarming statistic, the IIHS survey also finds that many rear-seat passengers (25 percent) don't think belts are necessary because they mistakenly think the back seat is safer than the front.
"PEMCO's message is clear – wearing a seatbelt is critically important, no matter where you are seated in a vehicle. Choosing not to buckle up can have deadly consequences for you, and can put others in the vehicle at risk, as well," Wing added.
For a complete summary of PEMCO's poll results, visit www.pemco.com/poll, where you'll find the responses collected by FBK Research of Seattle in May 2017.
About the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll
PEMCO Insurance commissioned this independent survey, conducted by FBK Research of Seattle, that asked Washington and Oregon residents questions about driving habits and attitudes toward current Northwest issues. The sample size, 600 respondents in Washington and 600 in Oregon, yields an accuracy of +/- 4.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. In other words, if this study were conducted 100 times, in 95 instances the data will not vary by more than the associated error range.
About PEMCO Insurance
PEMCO Insurance is a true Northwest company providing auto, home, and boat insurance to our neighbors since 1949. Consistently ranked highest in customer satisfaction, people are the heart of our business. They can depend on us to anticipate and support their changing needs. PEMCO is committed to serving organizations that positively impact our local communities. We were started by a Seattle schoolteacher and stay true to our roots by focusing on nonprofits and organizations that support youth, education, and public safety. To learn more, visit www.pemco.com.