(WTVM) - A new study in Georgia shows one in five people don't wear a seat belt when they get behind the wheel and that the state ranks sixth in unrestrained passenger fatalities.
"One in five drivers admit to not driving with their seat belts in the last 30 days and unfortunately in 2014 there were 21,000 lives lost to traffic fatalities and many of these lives perhaps may not have been lost if they passenger would have been restrained in their vehicles," says Garrett Townsend, Director of AAA Public Affairs.
Georgia does not have a mandatory seat belt law for rear seated passengers over the age of 18, something Townsend says may contribute to the rising roadway fatalities.
"There has to be a change in behavior and usually the easiest way to do so is to change the law," says Townsend.
Meanwhile, the seasons are changing and Townsend says the hotter months can pose greater driving risks.
"We're approaching the summer time kids are going to be out on the road there is going to be an increase of pedestrians particularly during the nice weather. So drivers want to make sure they are careful and watchful for pedestrians that may be on the roadway," says Townsend.
On a national level, seat belts used by adult rear seat passengers are only 78 percent, compared to 87 percent for the front seat passenger.
The discrepancy is even more pronounced in motor vehicle crashes involving a fatality: 60 percent rear belt use versus 74 front belt use.