IMPROVED SEAT BELT LEGISLATION IN NEW YORK STATE GETS A BOOST FROM RALPH NADER

BY DR. LOUIS ALPERT

Ombudsman

As a result of our column’s plea to Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader, Nader sent an urgent message to Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol, Chair of the Assembly’s Standing Committee on Codes, on February 28, 2018, urging the adoption of A-1582 (whose Senate version is S-2928), the “Rear Seat Belt Law.” These bills were designed as a lifesaving measure to protect ALL passengers in a car sitting in the rear as well as the front of a vehicle traveling on the roads and highways of New York State.

The historic importance of Ralph Nader’s intense interest and influence in this matter stems from the 1965 publication of his famous book, “Unsafe At Any Speed,” which first introduced and urged the use of seat belts in all automobiles in the country.

In this writer’s recent discussions with representatives of members of both the Assembly and Senate of New York State, I was most encouraged to learn that the news of Ralph Nader’s strong message to the leadership might help to promote the final passage of these bills.

This Ombudsman would now like to share with our readers the statements forwarded to him by the following New York State Legislators on this matter: 

ASSEMBLYMAN WALTER MOSLEY, the SPONSOR of A-1582:

“The Backseat Bill closes a significant gap in our state’s safety measures. By ensuring people of all ages wear seat belts no matter where they sit in a car, we can go a long way towards reducing traffic accidents and fatalities. I am pleased to see support from so many diverse areas of the state, and it is my hope that this year the Assembly and Senate pass this important bill.” 

SENATOR MARTIN MALAVE DILAN, the SPONSOR of S-2928:

“Mandatory restraints mean fewer fatalities. This has been a fact of commuter life in New York in the 34 years since becoming the first state to require seat belt restraints. Today, nearly 30 states have extended this to both driver and passenger, front or back. The results are irrefutable.” 

ASSEMBLYMAN JOSEPH R. LENTOL, CHAIR of the ASSEMBLY’S STANDING COMMITTEE on CODES:

“When federal and state laws were changed to require the use of seat belts, we quickly saw a reduction in vehicle collision deaths. We can save more lives by requiring rear seat passengers to buckle up. This is a common sense bill that passed my committee last year, [and] I am hopeful that this bill will be passed by both houses and signed into law.” 

SENATOR DAVID CARLUCCI:

“Seat belts save lives. I am a co-sponsor of the Senate bill and believe this legislation will help keep children and adults safe.” 

ASSEMBLYMAN KENNETH ZEBROWSKI:

“Seat belts are a proven lifesaving measure. Over the past several decades, we have made great progress in both enforcement and public awareness of the importance of seat belts. One area that lags behind is rear seat belt usage. This bill, which I have co-sponsored, would recognize that seat belts are a lifesaving measure no matter where you sit in a vehicle.”

Please address all comments and questions to: editor@rocklandcountytimes.com.