Texas law already requires buckling up in the front seat, and starting September 1, it'll be the law to do so in the back seat, too.
The change affects people 17 and older; those 16 and under are already required to wear a seat belt in the back seat.
Getting the measure passed into law was something of a bumpy. ride. that involved Austin's state senator and police chief.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, who is in his 24th year in law enforcement, said that years of seeing crash scenes in which seat belts made a critical difference inspired him to push the bill at the Capitol.
He said he was especially moved by a crash that happened in late April, after he'd begun lobbying for the measure. Round Rock High School student Raven Mayes, a member of the Marine Corps Junior ROTC and the Dragonettes Dance Team, died after the SUV she was riding in crashed into an 18-wheeler and rolled on Interstate 35. Mayes, riding in the back seat, was ejected, Acevedo said.
Statewide in 2008, 183 people, died â€” and 4,046 were injured â€” while riding without a seat belt in the back seat of a vehicle that crashed; according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
As of June 2008, 20 states and the District of Columbia required adults to use seat belts in all seats, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Offenders â€” drivers or passengers, depending on the situation â€” could be fined $25 to $50 if an adult is not buckled up in the back seat. Offenders can already be fined $100 to $200 if a child is not buckled up in the back seat.