(Albany, NY) – Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) is calling on Governor Cuomo to sign legislation (S.4336/A.6163) into law, requiring that all New Yorkers buckle up in the back seat or face a $50 ticket. The proposed legislation will also apply to passengers in Uber and Lyft.
Senator David Carlucci who sponsored the bill, said, "Every day we wait, another life could be lost. Requiring the use of a seat belt in the back seat will save lives and prevent tragedies. Numbers do not lie. If you fail to buckle up in the backseat, experts say you are two times more likely to be killed and eight times more likely to be seriously injured. Dozens of advocates led by AAA support this legislation, and it’s time to sign it into law.”
Lauren Paterno, Government Affairs Representative for AAA New York, said, “AAA has worked tirelessly to educate lawmakers and the public about the importance of buckling up in the back seat. This comprehensive seat belt law will save lives and prevent injures on New York State roadways. We applaud Senator Carlucci and Assemblyman Mosley for their leadership and sponsorship of this lifesaving legislation.”
Carlucci championed the bill through the New York State Senate on Wednesday, and now the legislation is headed to the Governor’s desk. Currently, only minors 16 and under must buckle up in the backseat or a driver can be ticketed $50 upon first violation.
The bill motivated by expert safety research, including one study, which found that people who do not buckle up in the backseat are eight times more likely to be injured or killed in a crash, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. AAA Northeast found an unbelted rear seat belt 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 motor vehicle. It is a common misconception by many adults that they do not have to wear their seat belt in the backseat because it is safer. According to a survey by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 28 percent of people do not buckle up in the backseat.
In 1985, New York became the first state in the nation to require drivers and all front seat passengers wear a seat belt. Now, 30 states and Washington D.C. have laws enforcing rear seat belt use, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. In California, since their law took effect, rear seat belt usage rates are at 65 percent as compared to 53 percent in states without the law.
Last year, New York’s rear seat belt bill passed in the Senate, but failed to make it out of the Assembly. There is still no indication of when or if the Governor will sign the bill into law.