Stricter seat belt laws going into effect
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation in August that builds on the state’s seat belt laws originally passed by former Gov. Mario Cuomo in 1984. New York was the first state to mandate seat belt laws. The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee indicated that 30% of highway deaths in New York are individuals unrestrained by a seat belt, and experts claim that more than two-thirds of fatalities and serious injuries can be prevented by wearing a restraint—including in the backseat.
The new law, which goes into effect Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, and requires all passengers over 16 years of age to wear seatbelts while riding in the vehicle—including in the backseat. Previously, the law required seatbelts for only front seat passengers, including the driver, and passengers under 16 in the backseat. People who violate the new law can be fined $50 per person. A driver also can be fined $25-$100 if their passengers are not wearing a seat belt, and receive three penalty points on his or her license.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “… of the 37,133 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2017, 47% were not wearing seat belts.” It is clear that 1. Failing to wear a seatbelt can result in ejection from the vehicle in a crash, which commonly is deadly; 2. Air bags alone are not enough to protect passengers and can even injure or kill passengers if they are not buckled up; and 3. Wearing a seatbelt improperly puts passengers at risk in a crash.
To learn more about how you could be held partially or entirely liable for injuries related to seat belt violations in the event of an accident, call our office today.