An expansion to the current New York State seat belt law will go into effect on November 1, 2020, and requires everyone in the vehicle to buckle up.

On August 11th, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed into law new seat belt requirements for passengers and stated that anyone over the age of 16 must wear a seatbelt regardless of where they are sitting in the vehicle. The prior New York State law technically allowed those 16 or older to sit in the backseat without a seatbelt.

Effective November 1, 2020:

  • A seat belt must restrain all motor vehicle passengers aged 16 and older.
  • A seat belt must restrain backseat passengers in a taxi or livery who are 16 years of age or older.
  • A seat belt must restrain all passengers in a taxi or livery who are 8-15 years of age.

Vehicle &Traffic Law section 1229-c OPWDD Seat Belt Law:

All vehicles utilized by OPWDD (Office for People With Developmental Disabilities) certified or operated programs for the transportation of individuals must have an operating seatbelt for each passenger. These requirements do not apply to a passenger or operator with a physically disabling condition...Per NYS law, the backseat seatbelt requirements do not currently apply to school buses, buses, taxis, and liveries.

New York State pioneered the seat belt law in 1984, and it is now a "primary enforcement law," which means a police officer can pull you over and give you a fine and a ticket if they see you or passengers are not using the seat belts.

In June of 2018, an observational survey stated the use of  seat belts was at a historical high of 93%:

Despite these gains in usage, roughly 33% of the front-seat occupants killed on New York State roadways are unrestrained. When unbelted back seat occupants killed are included, the total unrestrained killed percentage rises to approximately 37%. [NYS]

Increasing seat belt and child safety seat use is the most effective way to reduce crash-related injuries and fatalities. Buckle Up New York, Click It Or Ticket, is a statewide, zero-tolerance enforcement effort coordinated by the State Police, local agencies, sheriff's offices, and the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee.

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