Seatbelts to be mandatory for all passengers in NY

Updated Aug 14, 2020
All passengers in all vehicles — including commercial vehicles — traveling in or through New York state are going to have to buckle up later this year.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Tuesday, Aug. 11 signed legislation requiring all passengers in motor vehicles over the age of 16 to wear a seat belt. Currently, passengers aged 16 and older are only required to wear a seat belt in the front passenger seat next to the driver.

The new law takes effect Nov. 1.

“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,” Governor 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.”

In 1984, under Gov. Mario Cuomo, New York became the first state to pass a mandatory seat belt law and in the same year, according to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, approximately 16 percent of individuals wore seat belts. By 2008, 24 years after the law was enacted, the compliance rate was up to 89 percent, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee has indicated 30 percent of highway deaths in New York are occupants unrestrained by a seat belt. Safety experts believe that the use of a backseat seat belt could prevent over two-thirds of fatalities and serious injuries resulting from crashes. This legislation seeks to reduce automobile accident fatalities and casualties by requiring all occupants of a motor vehicle to buckle up.