New York State will likely soon require all adults in vehicles to use seat belts after New York senators recently voted to toughen the state’s seat belt law. The Assembly previously passed it and the legislation has been sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has proposed similar legislation in the past and is expected to sign it.

Current New York State law requires all front seat passengers to wear seat belts. Children under the age of 16 must wear seat belts when they are in the front seat or the back seat. Children under the age of 4 must ride in safety seats. Safety restraint systems are required for children until their 8th birthday.

The penalty for a seat belt or car seat violation is a fine of up $50. If the violation is for a person under the age of 16, the driver receives a maximum fine of $100 and three driver violation points upon conviction.

As a personal injury lawyer, I handled the very tragic case of a 15-year old-girl several years ago who was riding as an unbelted back-seat passenger when she was killed in a crash. Compounding the tragedy is the fact that I am certain that she would have survived had she been wearing a seat belt.

My advice to everyone: If you are riding in ANY vehicle (car, boat, plane, ATV) in ANY seat (front, rear, middle) where there is a seat belt available, USE IT! Most fatalities are caused by an unrestrained person either violently impacting with the interior of the vehicle or being thrown from the vehicle and crushed.

Supporters say the new law will save many lives in car accidents.

“Requiring the use of a seat belt in the back seat will save lives and prevent tragedies. Numbers do not lie,” said State Sen. David Carlucci. “If you fail to buckle up in the backseat, experts say you are two times more likely to be killed and eight times more likely to be seriously injured.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says almost half of the 37,133 people killed in car crashes in 2017 did not wear their seat belt.

Thank you for reading,


Jim Reed
Managing Partner
Best Lawyers’ “2015 & 2017 & 2019 Lawyer of the Year”

NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
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