Georgia is one of 20 states that don’t require adults in the back seats of vehicles to buckle up. Safety advocates say many people are paying with their lives. In 2017, 44% of the 1,057 people who died in crashes on Georgia roads were not wearing seat belts. Nationwide, 43% of people who died in crashes were not buckled up.
It’s hard to imagine that this is the case, but Georgia first started regulating seat belts in 1988, only requiring front-seat occupants to buckle up. The law has been altered over the years — slowly adding specifications that allowed police to cite someone spotted not wearing a seat belt and required minors and those riding in pickups to be restrained. For many years, pickup trucks were specifically excluded from the seat belt laws, presumably to help farm workers, but the rationale makes no sense, as they could have passed the seat belt laws and simply excluded farm workers while they were working on the farm from the new laws.
Pick-up truck drivers and passengers in Georgia are now required to wear seat belts. Georgia is the last state to adopt pick-up truck seat belt laws. The upgraded seatbelt laws came were gradual over time and accompanied the Georgia General Assembly’s decision to increase speed limits on rural interstates, according to the Georgia State Patrol. Seat belt usage has increased 30% since the laws have been tightened, and this is a great development for Georgia driver safety.