U.S. too slow to require rear seat belt warnings, lawsuit says

A new lawsuit accuses the U.S. government of being too slow to implement rules requiring that rear seat vehicle passengers be warned when they fail to buckle their seat belts.

In a complaint filed on Wednesday, two nonprofits said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has done nothing to implement legislation signed in July 2012 by former President Barack Obama that required the warnings.

The Center for Auto Safety, and Kids and Cars Inc., said nearly 1,000 people are killed annually in the rear seats of U.S. passenger vehicles because they do not buckle up, and proper belt usage would lower the risk of death by 44 percent.

“No one disagrees that seat belts save lives,” Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, said in a phone interview. “We don’t think the lives of people in the back seat are worth less than those in the front.”

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