Earlier this year, the world was saddened by the loss of Nobel Prize-winning economist John F. Nash Jr. and his wife after they were killed in a car accident in New Jersey. While car accidents claim lives every day, the crash shone a light on a particularly at-risk group: taxi cab passengers who do not wear seat belts.

Several news outlets reported that the Nashes were both unbuckled at the time of the crash, and that they had both been thrown from the back seat of the taxi they had been riding in. In the wake of the tragedy, many sources stressed the importance of wearing safety belts, but also highlighted the reasons why back seat passengers are less likely to buckle up in cabs:

  • Laws. It is not against the law for taxi passengers to remain unbuckled while they are sitting in the back seat (the drivers and front-seat passengers are still required to buckle up). A recent passenger survey from the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission reported that less than half of passengers used the taxi’s seat belts.
  • Short trips. Cabs operate in large cities with bustling traffic, making passengers likely to travel ten miles or fewer between destinations. A short ride on a street where traffic is moving at about fifteen or twenty miles an hour may not seem like a deadly situation, making seat belt use less likely.
  • Highway driving. Many passengers who do not buckle up in taxis in stop-and-go traffic will buckle up if the cab ride requires travel on a highway, bridge, or another high-speed road.

People Don’t Buckle Up (Even Though They Know it Saves Lives)

One of the most staggering reports from safety polls was that people who didn’t buckle up said they understood how important seat belts are and recognized that belts save lives. This suggests that convenience will trump safety for many passengers, placing them at risk of injury with each cab ride.

If someone you love takes cabs on a regular basis, please feel free to share this information on Facebook or Twitter. It only takes a minute to save someone else’s life!

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James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.