In 1984, New York became the first State to enact a mandatory seatbelt law. Now, 36 years later, that law is being strengthened.

For adults and those over the age of 16, current law requires that only front seat passengers wear seatbelts. An adult in the back seat is free to wear – or not wear – a seatbelt. But on November 1st, New York law will require all passengers to wear seatbelts, regardless of age or location in the vehicle.

Of course, children under 16 long have been required to wear seat belts when they are in either the front or back seat.

We know from decades of data that seatbelts make roads safer and reduce the number of vehicle fatalities. According to the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, 30% of New York highway deaths involve people who weren’t wearing a seatbelt. The number is even higher from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which reports that 47% of people killed in car accidents in 2017 weren’t buckled up.

Although New York was the first State to create a seatbelt law, 29 States and the District of Columbia already require all passengers to buckle up. New York now joins many of them with its own primary seatbelt law, which means that the police may pull over a vehicle if they see someone not wearing a seatbelt. Stated differently, a missing seatbelt is enough. Beware that drivers and passengers who aren’t buckled up face a fine if caught.

Bottom line, seatbelts are one of the easiest ways to heighten safety in a vehicle. This is true whether you’re riding in the front or the back seat. And now, in New York, all back seat passengers better be buckled up.

If you or someone you love was involved in a car accident, our team of attorneys at The Coppola Firm is here to help. But help yourself first and always wear your seatbelt.