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Seen At 11: Seat Belts Save Lives, But Many People Don't Buckle Up

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Seat belts save lives and prevent thousands of injuries, but their use isn't required by all passengers.

As CBS2's Alice Gainer reported, that can lead to a deadly mistake.

What seems like a safe ride, can become a nightmare as passengers are dangerously tossed around when their cab gets hit.

Another passenger appears to be in shock when her cab was rear-ended. And a woman was thrown into a window, while a fellow passenger -- who was wearing a seat belt -- remained in her seat.

It can get worse. In May, Nobel Peace Prize winner John Nash and his wife Alicia were killed in a crash. Both were in the back of a cab, neither was wearing a seat belt.

Videos have shown how the dangerous scenario can play out. The unbelted dummy goes flying into the windshield, injuring or even killing its front seat counterpart.

Emergency room chief Dr. Lewis Goldfrank said being in the back seat unbelted is a prescription for disaster.

"People die. They get broken extremities, broken jaws,they get big lacerations, they're a mess," Dr. Frank said.

In New York it's legal not to wear your seat belt in the back once you're sixteen. If you ride in a cab you don't have to wear one at all, and many people don't.

"It just didn't cross my mind at all to put it on," one rider said.

"It would have been the right thing to do, but I just didn't do it," another added.

According to Robert Sinclair of AAA, many teens don't wear back seat belts, just 40 percent.

"As you track the number of deaths, when you get from 16 to 18 the numbers just skyrocket," he said.

Teens had different reasons for not buckling up.

"It's sometimes seen as not cool to wear the seat belt in the back," one said.

"I'm confident in my friend, he's a good driver," another added.

Experts say that deaths and injuries are highly preventable, all it takes is a simple click.

"We could prevent a lot of terrible things. This is one of them," Sinclair said.

Twenty-eight states do require seat belt use in the back. Legislation is pending to make New York one of them.


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