BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Are you a backseat driver? If so, you’ll soon have to buckle up just like the real driver.
Starting September 1, anyone, not just children, riding in the backseat in Alabama has to wear a seat belt.
“A lot of people are under the false impression that it’s safer in the backseat than it is in the front seat,” said Clay Ingram, AAA Alabama.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety unbuckled backseat passengers are eight times more likely to be killed or injured in a crash compared to those who wear their seat belts.
"Another study indicated that the driver is 137 times more likely to be killed by unbuckled passenger from the backseat,” said Ingram.
"If you’re a 200 pound individual sitting in the backseat and you’re coming forward at terminal speed, and your head hits the back of somebody’s head, that can cause death. You know we have seen it cause death or serious injuries,” said Corporal Steve Smith, with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.
Starting Sunday, officers statewide will be checking when they make traffic stops to make sure everyone in the car is buckled.
The backseat safety belt is considered a secondary infraction, meaning police cannot stop a car for that reason alone.
“Something you should always have done, now it’s a requirement,” said Smith.
"It only takes a couple of weeks to get used to wearing one and after that you kind of feel vulnerable and feel funny without it,” said Ingram.