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Tag Archives: Seat Belt Law

Should New York State Seat Belt Laws Change?

In New York State there are no laws requiring adults over the age of 16 to wear a seat belt in the backseat. Regardless of your age, wearing a seat belt is vital for safety, even in the seemingly safe backseat. The rate of death from not wearing a seat belt is ridiculously high and especially between the ages of 16-24.

Read the full article below and comment your opinion on the lack of a seat belt law.

Nassau and Suffolk had about one-fifth of all state fatalities in car crashes in one category: backseat passengers 16 or older who had not buckled up, the AAA said Tuesday.

Suffolk had the worst record in the state, with 88 such deaths from 1995 to 2014. Nassau ranked third, with 70 fatalities, just one fewer than in Queens.

In all of New York State, 886 back-seat passengers in this category were killed.

Unlike 28 other states and the District of Columbia, New York does not require anyone older than 16 who is riding in the backseat to belt up, according to the nonprofit’s survey.

“What is particularly shocking to me is that we were the first state with any seat belt law,” said Alec Slatky, policy analyst, AAA Northeast chapter.

Despite heated opposition, then-Gov. Mario Cuomo in 1984 enacted the nation’s first seat belt requirement; only in 2000 was it expanded to include children aged 10 to 16 who sit in the backseats.

Noting deaths jump once teenagers no longer must belt in, Slatky said the AAA supports bills the legislature is considering requiring anyone 16 or older to wear seat belts if they ride in back.

Back-seat passengers from ages 16 to 24 “had by far the lowest rate of belt usage and accounted for more than half of the fatalities,” the survey said.

“This is a major problem … If you look at just Long Island, it’s about 8 adults a year killed in the back seat of a car while not wearing a seat belt,” Slatky said.

Though people sitting in the back might feel they are at less risk of being ejected than those in the front, they are twice as likely to kill front seat passengers — becoming a “bullet” in the AAA’s parlance — than if they were wearing seat belts, it found.

Unbelted back-seat passengers are three times more likely to be killed and eight times more likely to be seriously injured than if they were buckled in.

Pondering why back-seat passengers, especially young adults, are not buckling up, Slatky said:

“I think part of it’s people think they are safer in the back seat; part of it is just bravado.”

And for young adults riding in cars driven by their peers, “the social norms in such a situation may discourage restraint,” the survey said.

These kinds of fatalities rise with the number of people who live in an area and how much driving they do, the survey found.

All of New York City’s five counties had 190 deaths — about twice the number in Suffolk.

Car Crashes are the Leading Cause of Death for 4- year olds. Keep Them in Seatbelts

Did you know that every year about 33,000 people are killed in car crashes? One way to lower that number is to always wear a seat belt while driving or riding in a car. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) car crashes are the leading cause of death for people age 4 and every age 11 through 27 in the U.S. Wearing a seat belt should be second nature as soon as you get in a vehicle. It is the number one way to reduce risk of death.

In addition to seat belts saving lives, it’s the law. New York was the first state to pass a law requiring vehicle occupants to wear a seat belt in 1984. Drivers and passengers must wear seat belts at all times in the state of New York.

Seat belts absorb the force of an impact in a traffic crash and reduces your risk of being killed or injured. It holds you securely to help prevent you from striking hard objects inside the vehicle while being tossed around . People have said that wearing a sea tbelt is uncomfortable or not necessary for going short distances, but imagine being seriously injured in an accident or killed. A few minutes of “discomfort” are worth it, if it means saving a life.

Every child under the age of 16 in a vehicle must wear a seat belt. If under age eight, he or she must be properly secured in a federally-approved child safety seat that is attached to a vehicle by a safety belt or universal child restraint anchorage system. The safety seat should never be in the front and should always be properly secured.  You also should have children under age three in a rear facing safety seat. There are four types of child safety seats that should be used:

  • Infant seats- for infants weighing approximately 22 pounds or less
  • Convertible child safety seats- for infants or toddlers that weigh approximately 40 pounds or less
  • Booster seats- for children who have out grown the other car seat options or are four to eight years old, weigh 40 to 80 pounds ad are less than 4 feet, 9 inches in height.

If you are pulled over for not wearing a seat belt or have passengers who aren’t buckled up you can be fined up to $138. Adult passengers can also receive tickets and be fined up to $138, that ticket has no points.  If the passenger is under 16 years of age then the driver will be held responsible and receive the ticket. The driver will be fined a minimum of $138 for passengers under 16 not wearing a seat belt. The tickets will carry three points. The officer can issue a summons for each individual not wearing a seat belt. I have had clients with 3 or 4 tickets from one stop. That means facing 9 -12 points. It is essential that everyone in the front and back seat are wearing their seat belts properly.  Keep in mind, anyone in the front seat is required to wear a seat belt, but any passengers over the age of 16 in the backseat aren’t required to be buckled up. But as an adult driver be sure to set the example for passengers who are children. Make sure they are wearing their seat belts the correct way and make sure they know you are always buckled up.

If you have recently received a ticket in New York for not wearing or improper use of a safety belt then please contact my office right away. As a New York Traffic Ticket Attorney, I can fight for you. You can call me at (212) 227-9008 or email me at michaelblock.law@gmail.com.