New State Legislation Requires All Motor Vehicle Passengers 16 Years and Older to Wear Seatbelts

New York will now require all motor vehicle passengers, including those aged 16 years and older, to wear seatbelts in the back seat of a vehicle in an effort to increase safety according to new state legislation passed.

On Aug. 11, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo approved the state’s latest law regarding the use of seatbelts. During the 2019-2020 legislative session, the New York State Senate passed Senate Bill S4336 in an effort to further increase vehicle safety in the state. This piece of legislation requires passengers aged 16 and up to wear a seatbelt in the back of any motor vehicle.

The new law joins several other New York seat belt regulations, which the state began enforcing as far back as 1984. Studies show that seatbelts offer valuable protection to drivers and passengers, significantly reducing vehicle collision fatality rates and the severity of personal injuries in non-fatal collisions.

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New York’s New Seatbelt Law

New York’s new state legislation requires all motor vehicle passengers, including those 16 years and older, to wear seatbelts, even while riding in the backseat. Beginning on Nov. 1 of 2020, local law enforcement will begin to implement this new seatbelt law. Up to this point, the state’s most recent seatbelt law only required passengers of 16 and older to wear seatbelts while riding in the front seat.

Expansion of the Seatbelt Law Garnered the Support of Many

For several years, many believed that riding in the back seat was significantly safer than the front, and thus buckling up in the back was not necessary. Now, New York joins a handful of other states in requiring passengers of a certain age to use seatbelts regardless of where they are sitting in the vehicle.

By signing this law, Governor Cuomo hopes to debunk this myth and make both front- and backseat passengers safer. He also has a personal connection to this new law, which he referenced as he spoke of his support of it. His father, then-New York Governor Mario Cuomo, signed similar legislation back in 1984 to rush in the very first seatbelt law ever adopted at the state level.

New York Led the Nation with the First Seat Belt Laws

Prior to New York’s first seatbelt law, the only similar legislation in the United States existed at the federal level. It was one of the first laws introduced after the creation of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 1966.

The federal seat belt law went into effect in 1968 and encouraged the states to adopt their own regulations regarding the mandatory use of seatbelts, stating that it was in the public interest to do so. About 16 years later, Governor Mario Cuomo helped to make New York the first state to adopt such a law.

This began a trend, as other states soon began to adopt their own versions of the law. Since then, seat belts have saved countless lives in a variety of car crashes across the country.

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Seatbelts Offer Vital Protection to Drivers and Passengers

The invention of seatbelts helped to significantly increase driver and passenger safety. These safety tools protect drivers from being thrown around or ejected from the vehicle in the event of a collision. Without safety belt technology, it is likely that fatality rates related to vehicle collisions would be much higher.

Many groups have performed studies over the years to examine the effectiveness of seatbelt use in reducing injuries and fatalities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites several of these studies, one of which recorded a 15.6% decrease in crash injuries across the United States between 2001 and 2009. One of the major factors this study noted was the adoption of primary seatbelt laws in 14 states during this period.

Contact Us Today to Learn About Recovering Compensation for Injuries Suffered in a Car Collision

Despite the now widespread use of seatbelts and the increase in safety they provide, thousands of collision-related injuries still occur in the United States every day. Many of these crashes occur due to the negligent acts of drivers, from speeding or texting while driving to driving while drowsy or intoxicated.

Drivers owe each other a duty of care to follow the rules of the road, and failure to do so can result in liability for damages in a crash. If you suffered injuries in such a collision, even while wearing a seatbelt, you may qualify to recover compensation from the driver responsible.

The team at Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P. represents victims of driver negligence in order to pursue justice and damages on their behalf. We may be able to help you too. Call (631) 451-7900 today to tell us about your case and learn about the legal options that may be available to you.

Filed Under: Car Accidents

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