Exactly one year ago(on March 1, 2018) the title of this column read “Ralph Nader Gives Nod to Rockland County Times Ombudsman Alert Column.”
That column was a “thank you” letter from Ralph Nader to the Rockland County Times for alerting him to the pending rear seat belt legislation in the New York State legislature and the need for his powerful voice to help ensure the passage of this critical life-saving legislation in our state. Nader followed through by writing an extensive letter to Assemblyman Joseph Lenthol, Chairman of the Codes Committee, urging the passage of the rear seat belt legislation.
This Ombudsman is proud to mention that his relationship with Ralph Nader dates back to the 1980s when he served as Chairman of Nader’s “Congress Watch” in this congressional district and worked with him on numerous issues of auto safety over more than three decades.
Many of our readers (especially senior citizens) may recall that Ralph Nader was the originator of the concept of seat belts, which have saved countless lives throughout the world, even though their use was generally mandated for only front-seat passengers. Nader had always fought to extend their mandatory use to rear-seat passengers as well, which would save even more lives as shown by analysis of accident statistics involving unbelted rear-seat passengers.
The teamwork involving our local New York State legislators, Senator David Carlucci, Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski and Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee is reflected in their support and/or statements regarding this legislation as presented below:
SENATOR DAVID CARLUCCI
“Nearly 27.5 million people do not wear a seat belt despite the fact that it could save their life, In 2016, 2,456 people were killed because they did not buckle up. While it is the law to wear a seat belt in the front seats, it is not the case in the back seats, It’s time to change the law and require children and adults wear their seat belt no matter where they are sitting.”
ASSEMBLYMAN KEN ZEBROWSKI
“Seat belts are a proven lifesaving measure. Over the the past several decades we have made great progress in both enforcement and public awareness of the importance of seat belts. This proposal would recognize that seat belts are a lifesaving measure no matter where you are in a vehicle.”
ASSEMBLYWOMAN ELLEN JAFFEE (D-SUFFERN)
“As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Children and Families and a member of the Health Committee, I applaud the Governor for addressing this serious public health issue. We know buckling-up increases driver and passenger safety. Mandating that rear seat passengers of all ages wear seatbelts is another crucial step forward in preventing tragedies and saving lives.
The Ombudsman Alert concludes this article by encouraging all Members of the New York State Legislature to ensure that the life-saving provision of the mandatory use of seat belts in the REAR as well as the FRONT of all vehicles driven in New York State, REMAINS as an integral part of the proposed 2019 New York State Budget released by governor Andrew Cuomo.
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