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Consumer Reports comments to NHTSA on seat belt reminder systems

Consumer Reports (CR), the independent, nonprofit member organization, welcomes the opportunity to comment on the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to update requirements for seat belt reminder systems, including by requiring a seat belt warning system for rear seats.

The body of evidence, including the evidence summarized by NHTSA in the NPRM, clearly demonstrates that seat belt use saves lives. As noted by the agency, unbuckled occupants continue to be overrepresented in fatal crashes. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates that if all vehicles had persistent reminders to buckle up, it would save approximately 1,500 lives annually. In spite of the documented effectiveness of seat belts and seat belt warning systems (SBWS), and existing technology that has the potential to substantially increase rear seat belt use, most new vehicles still do not come equipped with a rear seat belt warning system, despite seat belt usage rates among rear seat passengers lagging substantially behind front seat belt use.

To read the full comments, click here.