On August 11, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation (S.4336/A.6163), expanding current seatbelt requirements to passengers in the backseat, regardless of age. The current law governing safety seats and seatbelts is under Vehicle and Traffic Law 1229-C. Current seat belt laws require passengers to wear seatbelts (or be in a child-restraint) if under 16 or are riding in the front seat and are 16 years or older. The newly signed legislation will go into effect on November 1, 2020, amending section VTL 1229-C, subdivision 3. 

New York became the first state in the nation to pass a law requiring passengers to use seat belts in 1984 during the late Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, Andrew’s father. However, studies from the American Automobile Association showed more than 1500 adult deaths since 1985 in accidents where the passenger did not wear a seatbelt. An individual not wearing a seatbelt. Additionally, the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee also indicated that 30% of highway deaths in NYS involve an individual not wearing a seatbelt.  

New York State also holds the driver responsible for the seatbelts of all persons under the age of 16. The driver can be fined a civil penalty of $25-$100 and receive three diver license penalty points for each violation. Passengers and drivers over 16 can be fined up to $50 per person beginning in November 2020. Because drivers are responsible for persons under the age of 16, not only will this affect the driver’s license through the DMV, but it will also likely affect their insurance. Accordingly, a seatbelt conviction and civil penalty can tack on many collateral consequences.

If you have questions regarding the new seatbelt legislation, call Nave Law Firm at 315.285.6283 or in Albany call 518.649.9281