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  • Alex Maltese

New York Seat Belt Law - What You Should Know to Avoid Penalties

In a car accident, seat belts save lives and lessen the severity of injuries. This is why it is compulsory to use a seat belt, booster seat, or child safety seat in New York State.


As a state with "primary enforcement," it enables a police officer to issue a traffic penalty for failing to buckle up in a seatbelt.


This post explores these seatbelt laws further within New York. Also, learn how long it takes to settle a car accident case in NY.


New York's Occupant Restraint Law

What Does the New York State's Occupant Restraint Law Say?


  • Drivers and passengers in the front seat must use seat belts. There should be one person per belt.

  • No matter their age or position in the vehicle, all passengers must be restrained when driven by someone with a learner's license.

  • Each passenger below 16 years old must use a child safety restraint system or a seat belt. The manufacturer's recommended child weight and height for the restraint system must be followed.

  • A driver is responsible for ensuring that all passengers under 16 follow the law. Each infraction carries a fine of up to $100 and three penalty points on the driver's license.

  • Emergency vehicles, automobiles manufactured in 1964 or before, and people riding on buses other than school buses are not obliged to wear seatbelts. While delivering mail, rural letter carriers are also exempt.

  • Beginning on November 1, 2017, all front-seat occupants in taxis and delivery vehicles must be at least 16 years old.


Seat Belt for Children


All children in a car must utilize a safety restraint. A lap and shoulder belt can be used to secure a child under the age of four who weighs more than 40 pounds in a booster seat. The infant should use a safety seat or a booster seat with a lap and shoulder belt if they are below 7 years old.


Kids who weigh above 100 pounds or those taller than 4'9" can use a seat belt with a lap and a shoulder harness. This is an exception. The child must be able to sit straight up against the seat back of the car with both knees comfortably bent over the seat edge to wear the belt.


Only a lap and shoulder belt used in tandem can be utilized with a booster seat.


A suitable system for child restraint:


  • It must fit the child's size and weight requirements according to Federal regulations and manufacturer recommendations.

  • Use special passenger restraints instead of the seat belt itself.


Seat Belt Laws for School Buses


Seat belts are compulsory under New York State law for big school buses built after 1987 and for schools to make them available to all passengers.


Children under the age of four must travel in well-installed, federally certified child safety seats, and every school bus driver is required to wear a seatbelt.


Why Is a Seatbelt Necessary?


In a car accident, a seat belt absorbs the force of contact, lowering the chance of death or severe injury to the vehicle's occupants. It keeps the individual firmly in place to lessen the possibility of getting thrown around during the accident.


Laws for Pregnant Women


The seat belt can safeguard the pregnant woman and the unborn child in an accident. Drivers should ensure the shoulder belt is snugly positioned across the chest and shoulder of their pregnant passengers.


Medical Excuses


A doctor must certify if a medical condition prevents a person from using a seat belt properly. The exemption must be printed on the doctor's letterhead and carried on trips.


Seat Belts and Air Bags

Seat Belts and Air Bags


An airbag complements seat belts; it does not take their place.


It inflates to protect a front-seat occupant in a crash. This prevents the occupant from colliding with the metal doorframe, dashboard, windshield, side windows, or steering wheel.


In some cars, airbags can also be deployed (rapidly expanding) from the side doors below or above the window. Some also deploy from the steering or dashboard.


Passengers who sit too close to an airbag may be hurt when it deploys. The distance between the center of your breastbone and the airbag cover should be at least 10 inches.


Under-12s should ride in the backseat of the car for the best level of safety.


Contact The Law Office of Carl Maltese for More Information


Our law firm has experienced Long Island vehicle accident lawyer with knowledge of the traffic laws of New York. Don't hesitate to contact them in any situation on the road. Call us at (631) 857-3703 to schedule a free consultation.


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