Uber issues alerts to remind riders to wear seat belts in backseat

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Uber is telling passengers they need to wear their seatbelts, even in the backseat.

Forgetting a seatbelt can be a dangerous decision, and even in the back set you can still suffer serious injuries or die. You're also putting your driver at extreme risk.

"If you're unbuckled, you can get all kinds of injuries including things like head injuries, or other serious bodily injuries from impacting the front seat or any partitions between the front seat and the backseat," said Jessica Jermakin, vice president of vehicle research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "And it increases the likelihood of ejection."

Ejection can occur even at slower speeds in the backseat and you could even be putting the driver at risk. Video from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows how a backseat passenger can become a projectile.

"The driver is two and a half times as likely to die in a crash if there's an unrestrained passenger behind them," Jermakin said.

Uber is now trying to reduce all those risks, using a push alert to passengers.

After getting in the Uber and buckling up, the passenger will get a phone alert. There is also a sound on the driver end of the app as they swipe to start the trip.

"That will activate the sound that will come from their phone," explained Kristin Smith, head of road safety policy for Uber. "We'll give drivers an opportunity to give that feedback and drivers as always, they can cancel a trip if they feel unsafe for any reason. But this is really just again, trying to urge the rider and not have to be something that the driver has to remind them but that just the technology is triggered at exactly the right moment to remind them to be buckling up."

Studies show that 90% of people say they buckle up in the front seat, but that only about 80% of people say they buckle up in back. It can be easy to forget but it's still important to remember and potentially life-saving.
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