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Beginning in the fall, adult passengers in the back seats of vehicles traveling in Connecticut will be required to buckle up under new legislation signed into law by Gov. Ned Lamont.
On Monday, July 12, Lamont signed “Public Act 21-175” which will require all passengers, no matter where they are sitting, to wear a seat belt as part of a State Department of Transportation bill that passed with bipartisan support.
The legislation takes effect as of Friday, Oct. 1. Connecticut is now the 32nd state to require all passengers to buckle up, regardless of where they are positioned in the vehicle.
Previously, the law only required backseat passengers under the age of 16 to wear seat belts.
“Connecticut has taken a significant step to reduce serious injuries and fatalities involving unbelted rear-seat passengers,” AAA Northeast Director of Public and Government Affairs Alec Slatky said.
“Given the spike in fatalities on roadways last year, the passage of this lifesaving measure is cause for celebration.”
Officials noted that the new law is subject to secondary enforcement, meaning drivers can’t be pulled over just because there is an unbelted adult in the back seat.
However, drivers who are 18 and older will be fined $50 for unbuckled passengers, and motorists under 18 will face a $75 fine for any passenger not wearing a seat belt in the back seat.
“There’s overwhelming evidence that seat-belt use reduces motor vehicle fatalities and serious injuries,” Slatky added. “Now, unbelted rear-seat passengers no longer will be back-seat ‘bullets’ in crashes.”
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