ATLANTA (AP) — A state Senate panel has recommended changing Georgia law to require adults riding in the back seat of a vehicle to wear seat belts.
Lawmakers are expected to pursue legislation to that effect during next year's session starting in January, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Current state law requires all drivers and front seat occupants to wear seat belts, as well as anyone 17 or under riding in the back seat. But adults don't have to buckle up in back.
Georgia is one of 20 states that don't require adults in the back seat to be restrained.
Republican Sen. John Albers of Roswell says that changing the law will save lives.
"We believe there should be more public service announcements and times put into reminding and educating the public on the importance of wearing their seat belts at all times and in all locations," Albers said, according to the newspaper.
Past attempts to make the change have stalled, with some lawmakers resisting the stronger requirements.
Democratic Sen. Tonya Anderson of Lithonia sponsored a bill earlier this year that would have required adults to buckle up in the back seat, but it stalled in the Senate. Anderson said she's still "confident it will become law because it already has bipartisan support."
In 2017, 44% of the over 1,000 people killed in automobile crashes in Georgia were not wearing seat belts, slightly above the nationwide rate of 43%.