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A US analysis of 10736 fatal road crashes involving passenger vehicles (carrying more than 26000 rear seat passengers) suggests that using a safety belt in rear seats may reduce risk of death by about 60% in a car and 70% in a light truck. The difference between the two types of vehicle was explained by the latter being more likely to roll over in a crash, so the belt prevents a passenger from being ejected. During the study period (2000-4) 57% of drivers wore belts, but, among passengers in the rear seats, only 15% of those in centre seats and 29% of those in side seats wore belts.
In countries whose laws require the use of belts in the front seats of vehicles, fewer occupants die. This study suggests that laws requiring rear seat passengers to use belts, coupled with educational campaigns, could lead to a similar outcome.