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NY Passes New Seat Belt Law, Hopes to Boost Safety

man putting on seat belt

It’s pretty well known that one of the best things you can do to stay safe while on the road is to wear a seat belt. But not only can wearing a seat belt keep you safer, it can actually prove lifesaving. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2017, seat belts saved approximately 14,955 lives in the U.S. and could have saved 2,549 more had everyone worn a seat belt. 

That’s why it’s not too surprising that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed a new seat belt law requiring all passengers of motor vehicles to wear them – regardless of age. 

NY’s New Seat Belt Law, VTL 1229-c2

New York was one of the first states to introduce a seat belt law, with Gov. Cuomo’s late father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo signing it into effect in 1984. The new law, VTL 1229-c2, which is set to begin on Nov. 1, extends the law currently in place.

The law currently in place mandates that all passengers aged 15 and younger must wear a seat belt, while those 16 and older are only mandated to do so if in the front seat.  In other words, the new law updates the old law to make it illegal for passengers in the backseat who are 16 or older to be without a seat belt. 

In a statement, Gov. Cuomo expressed his hope that the newly passed law will serve to keep New Yorkers safer. 

“We’ve known for decades that seat belts save lives and with this measure we are further strengthening our laws and helping to prevent needless tragedies,” Cuomo said. “It was under my father’s leadership that New York became the first state in the country to pass a seat belt law, and the nation followed his lead. Now we are building upon this legacy and helping to create a safer and stronger Empire State for all.”

Fines to Increase with New Seat Belt Law

With approximately 30 percent of the state’s highway deaths involving those not wearing seat belts, it’s clear that the new law can make a huge impact. 

Under the current law, when passengers in the back seat under the age of 15 who are found not to be wearing a seat belt, a person can receive a fine of up to $50 and a state surcharge of $88 or $93. But under the new law, the driver can be fined up to $100 plus the same surcharge, as well as 3 points on his or her license. 

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