You must now buckle up in a motor vehicle in New York State no matter where you are riding in a motor vehicle. Effective November 1st, 2020 all passengers in a vehicle operated on the public highway in NY State must wear a seat belt regardless of age.
On August 11th Governor Cuomo signed legislation (S.4336/A.6163) requiring all passengers in motor vehicles over the age of 16 to wear a seat belt. Previously, passengers aged 16 and older were only required to wear a seat belt in the front passenger seat next to the driver.
"We've known for decades that seat belts save lives and with this measure we are further strengthening our laws and helping to prevent needless tragedies," Governor Cuomo said. "It was under my father's leadership that New York became the first state in the country to pass a seat belt law, and the nation followed his lead. Now we are building upon this legacy and helping to create a safer and stronger Empire State for all."
Over the last decade, 296 rear seat passengers over the age of 16 who were not buckled up were killed in New York state and over 25,000 suffered injuries, according to AAA.
The new law set applies to almost all cars in New York State. Another law, which is set to take effect in January of 2021 requires stretch limousines already on the road to have seat belts installed at every seating position by 2023.
Unbuckled passengers in a rear seat are twice as likely to be killed and eight times as likely to be seriously injured when flung forward compared to those who are wearing seat belts.