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State of New York Mulls New Seat Belt Law

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced his desire to expand the state’s seat belt laws to include all passengers in a vehicle. This would mean that rear seat passengers, who currently are not required to wear seat belts under state law, would need to start getting into the habit of buckling up or face fines.

In addition to requiring front-seat drivers and passengers to wear their seat belts, current state law also calls for anyone under the age of 16 to wear one. The law would extend to all backseat passengers over 16.

If implemented, this law would come as part of the 2018-2019 state budget plan. Also included in that plan is a stipulation that outlaws the use of hands-free phones by drivers who hold junior permits and junior licenses, along with a regulation requiring all children younger than eight years old to be properly secured in appropriate car seats when riding in a school van or car.

What’s behind the proposed law?

The issues leading to the potential implementation of this new seat belt law primarily are primarily tied to safety. Seat belts help absorb the impact of a crash, keeping passengers in their seats and drastically reducing the chances of death or serious injury when they’re worn appropriately. Approximately 21 percent of all deaths that happen on New York highways occur to people who were not buckled up.

In addition, lack of seatbelt use was found in studies to be a major factor in motor vehicle accident deaths, even more so than excessive speeding or alcohol use.

Mandatory seat belt laws for all drivers and front-seat passengers have been in place in some form since 1985, when New York became the first state in the nation to pass such a law.

If you would like to learn more about how seat belt usage impacts personal injury claims, contact a knowledgeable Long Island auto accident lawyer with Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP.