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SECTION 1229-C
Operation of vehicles with safety seats and safety belts
Vehicle & Traffic (VAT) CHAPTER 71, TITLE 7, ARTICLE 33
§ 1229-c. Operation of vehicles with safety seats and safety belts.
1. No person shall operate a motor vehicle in this state unless: (a) all
back seat passengers of such vehicle under the age of four are
restrained in a specially designed seat which meets the Federal Motor
Vehicle Safety Standards set forth in 49 C.F.R. 571.213 and which is
either permanently affixed or is affixed to such vehicle by a safety
belt and which shall be rear-facing whenever the passenger being
restrained in such seat is under the age of two except that in the event
that the weight or height of such passenger under the age of two exceeds
the occupant size and weight recommendations of the manufacturer of such
rear-facing seat, such seat may be forward-facing; provided, however,
that in the event that the weight of such passenger under the age of
four exceeds forty pounds, such passenger may be restrained (i) in an
appropriate child restraint system as defined in subdivision four of
this section used with combination lap safety and shoulder harness belts
or (ii) by a lap safety belt in the event such vehicle is not equipped
with combination lap safety and shoulder harness belts or all the
combination lap safety and shoulder harness belts are being used to
properly restrain other passengers who are under the age of sixteen; (b)
all back seat passengers of such vehicle who are age four or older but
under age eight (i) are restrained in an appropriate child restraint
system as defined in subdivision four of this section used with
combination lap and shoulder harness belts or (ii) are restrained in a
lap safety belt in the event such vehicle is not equipped with
combination lap safety and shoulder harness belts or all the combination
lap safety and shoulder harness belts are being used to properly
restrain other passengers who are under the age of sixteen; or (c) in
the case of any other back seat passenger under the age of sixteen, he
or she is restrained by a safety belt approved by the commissioner.

2. No person shall operate a motor vehicle unless all front seat
passengers (a) under the age of sixteen are restrained by a safety belt;
or (b) if they are under the age of four, by a specially designed seat
which is either permanently affixed or affixed to such vehicle by a
safety belt as required by subdivision one of this section, or in the
event that the weight of such passenger under the age of four exceeds
forty pounds, such passenger may be restrained (i) in an appropriate
child restraint system as defined in subdivision four of this section
used with combination lap safety and shoulder harness belts or (ii) by a
lap safety belt in the event such vehicle is not equipped with
combination lap safety and shoulder harness belts or all the combination
lap safety and shoulder harness belts are being used to properly
restrain other passengers who are under the age of sixteen; or (c) if
they are age four or older but under age eight, (i) are restrained in an
appropriate child restraint system as defined in subdivision four of
this section used with combination lap safety and shoulder harness belts
or (ii) are restrained in a lap safety belt in the event such vehicle is
not equipped with combination lap safety and shoulder harness belts or
all the combination lap safety and shoulder harness belts are being used
to properly restrain other passengers who are under the age of sixteen.

3. No person shall operate a motor vehicle unless such person is
restrained by a safety belt approved by the commissioner. No person
sixteen years of age or over shall be a passenger in a motor vehicle
unless such person is restrained by a safety belt approved by the
commissioner.

3-a. Except as otherwise provided for passengers under the age of
four, it shall be a violation of this section if a person is seated in a
seating position equipped with both a lap safety belt and a shoulder
harness belt and such person is not restrained by both such lap safety
belt and shoulder harness belt.

3-b. No person holding a class DJ learner's permit or class DJ license
issued pursuant to section five hundred two of this chapter, shall
operate a motor vehicle in this state unless such person is restrained
by a safety belt approved by the commissioner, and all passengers under
the age of four are restrained in a specially designed seat which meets
the federal motor vehicle safety standards set forth in 49 C.F.R.
571.213 and which is either permanently affixed or is affixed to such
vehicle by a safety belt and, in the case of any other passenger under
the age of sixteen, he or she is restrained by a safety belt approved by
the commissioner. No person sixteen years of age or over shall be a
passenger in a motor vehicle operated by a person holding a class DJ
learner's permit, a class DJ license or a limited class DJ license
unless such passenger is restrained by a safety belt approved by the
commissioner.

3-c. (a) No person shall operate a taxi or livery unless such person
is restrained by a safety belt approved by the commissioner.

(b) No person sixteen years of age or over shall be a passenger in a
taxi or livery unless such person is restrained by a safety belt
approved by the commissioner.

(c) No person eight years of age or older but under age sixteen shall
be a passenger in a taxi or livery unless such person is restrained by a
safety belt approved by the commissioner. A police officer shall only
issue a summons for a violation of this paragraph to the parent or
guardian of such person if the violation by such person occurs in the
presence of such person's parent or guardian and where such parent or
guardian is eighteen years of age or more. Such summons shall only be
issued to such parent or guardian and shall not be issued to the person
eight years of age or older but under age sixteen.

4. For the purposes of this section, the following terms shall have
the following meanings: (a) "motor vehicle" shall include all motor
vehicles which are required by section three hundred eighty-three of
this chapter or regulation or would be required if such motor vehicle
were registered in New York state to be equipped by a safety belt but
shall not include those vehicles which are used as school buses, as such
term is defined in section one hundred forty-two of this chapter and
those vehicles which are authorized emergency vehicles, as such term is
defined in section one hundred one of this chapter, provided, however,
that for purposes of this section, "motor vehicle" shall also include
fire vehicles owned and/or operated by a fire company as defined by
subdivision two of section one hundred of the general municipal law and
ambulances owned and/or operated by a voluntary ambulance service as
defined by subdivision three of section one hundred of the general
municipal law;

(b) "child restraint system" shall mean any device, used in
conjunction with safety belts, designed for use in a motor vehicle to
restrain, seat, or position children and which meets the applicable
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards set forth in 49 C.F.R. 571.213;
and

(c) "appropriate child restraint system" shall mean a child restraint
system for which the occupant meets the occupant size and weight
recommendations of the manufacturer of such system.

5. Any person who violates the provisions of subdivision three,
three-c or ten-a of this section shall be punished by a civil fine of up
to fifty dollars. Any person who violates the provisions of subdivision
one, two, eleven or thirteen of this section shall be punished by a
civil fine of not less than twenty-five nor more than one hundred
dollars. In any prosecution or proceeding alleging a violation of
paragraph (b) of subdivision one or paragraph (c) of subdivision two of
this section, it shall be an affirmative defense that the passenger
subject to the requirements of such paragraphs was restrained by a
safety belt and measures more than four feet nine inches in height
and/or weighs more than one hundred pounds. In any prosecution or
proceeding alleging a violation of paragraph (b) or paragraph (c) of
subdivision three-c of this section, it shall be an affirmative defense
that such taxi or livery was in violation of subdivision four-b of
section three hundred eighty-three of this chapter.

6. The court shall waive any fine for which a person who violates the
provisions of this section would be liable with respect to passengers
under the age of eight if such person supplies the court with proof
that, between the date on which he is charged with having violated this
section and the appearance date for such violation, he purchased or
rented a child restraint system which meets the requirements of
subdivision one of this section. Provided, however, that such waiver of
fine shall not apply to a second or subsequent conviction under this
section.

7. The provisions of this section shall not apply to a passenger or
operator with a physically disabling condition whose physical disability
would prevent appropriate restraint in such safety seat or safety belt
provided, however, such condition is duly certified by a physician who
shall state the nature of the handicap, as well as the reason such
restraint is inappropriate.

8. Non-compliance with the provisions of this section shall not be
admissible as evidence in any civil action in a court of law in regard
to the issue of liability but may be introduced into evidence in
mitigation of damages provided the party introducing said evidence has
pleaded such non-compliance as an affirmative defense.

9. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision four of this section,
the provisions of this section shall not apply to buses other than
school buses and the provisions of subdivisions one, two, three and
three-a of this section shall not apply to taxis and liveries except
that the provisions of subdivision three-a of this section shall be
applicable to any person operating a taxi or livery and to taxi and
livery passengers age eight or older.

10. The provisions of this section shall not apply to persons employed
as rural letter carriers, as defined by the United States postal
service, while such persons are discharging the duties of such
employment.

10-a. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision one of this
section, no person sixteen years of age or over shall be a passenger in
the rear seat of a fire vehicle owned and/or operated by a fire company
as defined by subdivision two of section one hundred of the general
municipal law or in the rear seat of an ambulance owned and/or operated
by a voluntary ambulance service as defined by subdivision three of
section one hundred of the general municipal law unless such person is
restrained by a safety belt approved by the commissioner. Provided,
however, that the provisions of this subdivision shall not apply: (a) to
a passenger in the rear seat of such fire vehicle or ambulance if such
seat is not required to be equipped with safety belts pursuant to the
provisions of section three hundred eighty-three of this chapter, nor
(b) to emergency medical personnel during the course of providing
patient care in the rear compartment of an ambulance in accordance with
applicable patient care standards, guidelines and protocols established
pursuant to article thirty of the public health law.

11. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision four of this
section, no person shall operate a school bus unless all passengers
under the age of four are restrained in a specially designed detachable
or removable seat as required by subdivision one of this section, or
another restraining device approved by the commissioner.

12. (a) Every rental vehicle company, as defined in paragraph (c) of
subdivision one of section three hundred ninety-six-z of the general
business law, shall post a sign in their place of business which states
in conspicuous lettering of at least seventy-two point boldface type:

NEW YORK STATE LAW REQUIRES ALL CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF EIGHT TO BE
RESTRAINED IN A FEDERALLY APPROVED CHILD RESTRAINT SYSTEM.

(b) Such sign shall be placed in an upright position and in a
conspicuous place where it can easily be read by the clientele of the
rental vehicle company.

(c) Any rental vehicle company which violates the provisions of this
subdivision shall be subject to a civil penalty, not to exceed one
hundred dollars for each day of violation.

13. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision four of this
section, no person shall operate a school bus for which there are no
applicable federal school bus safety standards unless all occupants are
restrained by a safety belt approved by the commissioner or, regarding
occupants age four or older but under age seven, are restrained pursuant
to subdivision one or two of this section.