The IIHS also asked respondents why they weren't always buckling up. These responses included simply forgetting or not being in the habit, as well as seat belts being difficult to use or uncomfortable. The most common response: 25 percent of those surveyed said they thought — erroneously — that the rear seats were safer and a seat belt was unnecessary there.
As the IIHS points out, backseat occupants are still at risk of serious injury — and you're eight times more likely to suffer a serious injury without using seat belts in back. The agency also cites a study by the University of Virginia that found an unbelted rear left passenger doubled the chance of the driver being killed in a crash.
Most of the people surveyed had similar ideas about how to increase rear seat belt usage:
Reminders were high on the list. Three-fourths of respondents said a reminder from someone in the car would get them to wear a belt, and 62 percent said an audible chime from the car — like front-seat passengers get — would make a difference. The IIHS said that in 2015, only 3 percent of cars had seat belt reminders for rear seats and that hasn't really changed.
Laws also were a popular suggestion, with 73 percent of people saying if the driver could be pulled over for a rear seat belt infraction, they would wear the belts more often. And 60 percent said if they knew there was a law, they would change their habits. For reference, there are front seat belt laws in Washington, D.C., and 49 of 50 states (New Hampshire doesn't require belts. We guess that wouldn't fit with the state's "Live Free or Die" motto). For rear seat belts, there are laws in only 29 states and D.C.
Behind reminders and laws, responses focused on making rear seat belts more comfortable and easy to use.