BALTIMORE (WJZ) — New concerns over backseat safety. Now the latest research suggests if states had stricter seatbelt laws, the number of deaths could drop by 17%.

Jessica Kartalija has more.

Last month, Nobel Prize Winner John Nash and his wife died in a taxi crash in New Jersey. Both were riding without a seatbelt. Now there’s a push to make back seats safer.

If you needed a reason to fasten your seatbelt when you’re in the back seat, here it is: video of a father and his young son unbuckled; they went flying when the cab they were riding in was hit.

It happens more than you might think. Department of Transportation data shows more than one in five backseat passengers don’t buckle up. In a cab, the numbers are much worse. Last year, the New York City Taxi Commission found only 38% of cab riders wore seatbelts.

In 2013, more than half of backseat passengers—55%—killed in crashes were not wearing seatbelts. Only 28 states require adults in the back to buckle up; Maryland is one of them.

Deborah Hersman is the former Chairman of the NTSB and heads the National Safety Council.

“People are just as likely to be injured or killed in the backseat if they’re not wearing those seatbelts as they are in the front seat,” she said.

The Department of Transportation says people not wearing a seatbelt are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle during a crash.

More than three out of four people who are ejected during a fatal crash die from their injuries.


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