If you’ve had difficulty convincing others (or yourself) that buckling up in the back seat is a good idea, beyond just obeying the law, check out this in-car video of crash test dummies in a simulation. Four out of five people do without wearing a seat belt in the back seat, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the US. In Malaysia, it’s down to just 7-9% says MIROS, which is among the lowest in South East Asia based on World Health Organization’s (WHO) findings.

“For most adults, it’s still as safe to ride in the back seat as the front seat, but not if you aren’t buckled up,” said Jessica Jermakian, senior engineer at the IIHS. In a study in the US, Adults aged 18 and above were surveyed between June and August last year, and of the 1,172 respondents, 91% said they used seat belts when seated in front, while only 72% said they buckled up at the back.

“People who don’t use safety belts might think their neglect won’t hurt anyone else. That’s not the case. In the rear seat a lap/shoulder belt is the primary means of protection in a frontal crash. Without it, bodies can hit hard surfaces or other people at full speed, leading to serious injuries,” Jermakian added.

Drivers are twice as likely to be killed in crashes when the occupant behind them is unrestrained. In the United States, rear seat passengers are covered by law in 29 states. Here in Malaysia, rear seat belt use has been compulsory nationwide since 2008, but sadly, the compliance rate has come down from 47% in early 2009 to just 7-9% in 2015. Worse still, the use of rear seat belts among Malaysians are said to be driven more on the fear of being fined as opposed to anything else.

It’s a message that bears repeating – buckle up, whenever you’re about to travel in a car, no matter how short a distance.