Car services including taxis and chauffeured vehicles need to provide seat belts for passengers and must ensure the seat belts are in good working order. Despite the fact seat belts are provided - and risk of being involved in a car accident - the majority of passengers tend not to use them when in a chauffeured vehicle or in a taxi service.
The New York Times reports passengers routinely feel as if they are safer when a car is driven by a professional. Most adults also believe it is safe to be in the back of a car when it is unbuckled, in part because almost half of all states in the country do not require adult passengers to wear a seat belt in the back seat. In Connecticut, for example, only passengers ages four to 16 must have a seat belt on in the back seat of a car.
While most passengers in taxis don't use seat belts and many passengers in the back of private cars also do not buckle up, there is a significant risk to going unbuckled. ABC News reports the recent death of Noble Prize winning mathematician John Nash and his wife is raising more awareness about the need to be buckled up as a passenger in order to reduce the risk of death or serious injury when a motor vehicle accident occurs.
Passengers Should be Buckled Up, But Drivers Remain Responsible for Safety
One study revealed 62 percent of people in taxis do not wear seat belts even though belts are provided. Many of these motorists sustain serious injuries if a taxi is involved in a motor vehicle collision. Emergency room doctors have named one of the most common kinds of injuries from taxi accidents "partition face," because facial injuries are so common when passengers slam into the back of the partition separating the taxi passengers from the taxi drivers.
Passengers in chauffeured cars also face serious injury risks. Earlier this year, a CBS correspondent was killed when riding in the back of a town car without wearing a seat belt. The famous 1997 motor vehicle collision resulting in the death of Princess Diana also occurred when the Princess was not buckled up.
Passengers need to be aware of the substantial risks associated with a failure to wear a belt whenever they are in a moving vehicle. However, passengers should also know their rights if they are involved in a motor vehicle accident.
A passenger is entitled to compensation for car accident injuries if the accident is caused by the negligence or carelessness of any motorist. This could include not just the driver of other vehicles causing a crash, but also the driver of the vehicle the passenger is riding in at the time the incident occurs. If the passenger is in a taxi, chauffeured car, or other vehicle operated by a professional car service, the passenger may file a claim against the car service company in many situations.
The fact a passenger is not wearing a seat belt should not undermine the passenger's case for compensation for injuries. A passenger should still be compensated by the responsible driver, and/or by the car service company, if the injuries are sustained as a direct result of driver negligence.