This week, Senator David Carlucci’s and Assemblyman Walter Mosley’s legislation (S.4336/A.6163), requiring all passengers buckle up in the back seat was signed into law by Governor Cuomo. Previously, only minors under 16 had to buckle up in the back seat or a driver could face a $50 fine upon first violation. Now, adult passengers can be ticketed $50 if not wearing their seat belt. The new law will also apply to passengers of ride sharing services like Uber and Lift.
Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) said, “The injuries you can sustain from not wearing a seat belt can be deadly, and that’s a fact whether you sit in the front or the back of a vehicle. With this bill signed into law, we will help prevent tragedies and save lives in New York. Thank you to the advocates, including AAA for their strong support of this legislation.”
Assembly Member Walter Mosley (D-Brooklyn) said, “Seat belts are a proven way to make our roads safer and lower the number of automobile fatalities. This legislation will go a long way towards achieving that goal and ensuring that all passengers are safe when traveling. I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this bill into law and look forward to the positive impact it will have on our state.”
It is a common misconception by many adults that they do not have to wear their seat belt in the back seat because it is safer. However, AAA Northeast found an unbelted rear seat passenger in a vehicle accident is two times more likely to be killed, eight times more likely to be seriously injured, and two times more likely to kill a front seat occupant by becoming a projectile. In New York State, over the last decade, 289 people have been killed, and 25,596 people have been injured, while unrestrained in the back seat of a motorvehicle.
In 1984, New York became the first state in the nation to require drivers and all front-seat passengers wear a seat belt, and Carlucci added, “this legislation was long overdue.” At that time about 16 percent of individuals wore seat belts. By 2008, 24 years after the law was enacted, the compliance rate was up to 89 percent. Dozens of organizations, representing traffic safety, public health, health care and the insurance industry signed on to support a rear seat belt requirement. The new law will take effect on November 1, 2020.