New Seat Belt Requirements in New York State

Recorded on August 12, 2020

Gov. Cuomo recently signed legislation requiring all passengers in motor vehicles over the age of 16 to wear a seat belt. Currently, passengers aged 16 and older are only required to wear a seat belt in the front passenger seat next to the driver. Attorney Ben Barry of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP is on the radio with WIZN discussing the new law and when it will go into effect. Please give it a listen or read the transcript below.

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Joe: 106.7 WIZN, The Scorpions, it’s “No One Like You.” Heard Steve Miller and “The Joker” before that. Joe Vega here with you on your Wednesday Rocking Ride Home. And I’m joined now by Ben Barry from Martin Harding & Mazzotti. Hello, Ben.

Ben: Hello, Joe.

Joe: So, today, I’m calling you on behalf of the New York listeners that we have, because the state of New York, today, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation requiring all passengers in motor vehicles over the age of 16 to wear a seatbelt. Of course, it was, if you’re an adult and you’re in the backseat you didn’t have to wear a seatbelt. Now, basically, it doesn’t matter where you are in the car or what your age is, right, you have to wear a seatbelt now in the state of New York.

Ben: That’s correct.

Joe: Okay. And when does this legislation go into effect?

Ben: I think it goes into effect November 1st. So, it will be prior to 2021.

Joe: How did this whole law come about?

Ben: There is significant lobbying for increased motor vehicle safety in general. A lot of that lobbying is done by AAA and other advocacy groups, MADD, SADD, all of those groups. But, generally speaking, the statistics are rather clear that wearing a seatbelt significantly decreases the threat of sustaining serious bodily injury in a motor vehicle. That’s not just nationwide, that’s worldwide. And, so, the statistics have been there, and the statistics have been the foundation for much of the legislation that we have now that’s already related to seatbelts, speed limits, DWI, BAC limits. All of the stuff is based on the statistical evidence, and there’s no question that wearing a seatbelt certainly increases the level of safety on any motor vehicle.

Joe: Yeah, when you think about it, you’re not really any safer in the backseat.

Ben: I don’t think that there’s any expert anywhere who says, “Look, it’s reasonable to not be wearing a seatbelt if you’re in a moving vehicle.” People seriously underestimate the danger that motor vehicles can cause and the damage that they can cause. So, I generally am in support of this legislation. I think it’s a good idea. It’s certainly something that I see every day dealing with motor vehicle accidents. People get very injured and seatbelts help.

Joe: Right. I gotcha. All right, thanks a lot Ben.

Ben: Thank you, Joe. Wear your seatbelt.

Joe: Will do. All right. Remember, you can call Ben at anytime at 1-800-LAW-1010 or go online to Mel Allen’s taking over. He’s got music from Foreigner and Collective Soul next.

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