(Albany, NY) -- Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) and Assemblyman Walter Mosley (D-Brooklyn) joined AAA Northeast and Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) for a press conference calling for the passage of legislation (S.4336/A.6163) that would require all people wear their seat belt in the backseat. Under current law, only minors under 16 must buckle up in the backseat.
“This is common-sense legislation that will save lives. People in the backseat who do not buckle up can be injured or killed by being ejected from the vehicle or hitting the front seats. The data and research is there, someone who does not fasten their seat belt in the backseat is 8 times more likely to suffer injury or death. Let us prevent tragedies and make it the law to always fasten your seat belt,” said Senator David Carlucci.
“19 states have taken the lead on this issue and New York must follow suit to ensure safety on our roadways. Since 1985, more than 1500 adults have lost their lives for failure to wear their seat belt in the backseat. We thank the advocates for their steadfast support of this bill, and now we have gone from could this be passed to when this will be passed because of the change in dynamics in the state Senate,” said Assemblyman Walter Mosley.
“New York has a long history of leadership with occupant protection and this legislation builds on that legacy. New York State passed the nation’s first seat belt law in 1984, inspiring states to pass similar statutes. Those laws saved literally hundreds of thousands of lives. This legislation closes gaps in New York law. Wearing a seat belt dramatically reduces risk of injury and death- in all seats,” said John A. Corlett, Legislative Committee Chairman for AAA New York State.
"The Medical Society of the State of New York supports this legislation calling for rear seat passengers to buckle up and be safe," said Dr. Arthur Fougner, MD, MSSNY President.
Nearly 1.25 million people die in car accidents each year, according to the Association of Safe International Road Travel. In 2017, of the some 37,000 people killed in car crashes, nearly half were not wearing their seat belts, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. People who do not buckle up in the backseat are 8 times more likely to be injured or killed in a crash, according to a study done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The data shows the safest choice drivers and passengers can make, regardless of where they sit, is to wear a seat belt.
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. While the backseat maybe safer than the front seat, seat belts are still necessary. If a person does not buckle up in the backseat, it can result in them being totally ejected from the vehicle. Unrestrained passengers can also slam into the front seats. Safety experts believe that the use of a rear seat belt could prevent over two thirds of fatalities and serious injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes. Under this bill, if an adult does not buckle up, he or she and the driver will each face a $50 fine.
19 other states have adopted similar legislation. 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.
The bill was voted out of the New York State Senate Transportation Committee today and is expected to come to the Senate floor for a vote this week.