New rear seatbelt law takes effect Sunday

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UTICA — A new state law requiring rear seat passengers in all vehicles wear seatbelts takes effect Sunday, Nov. 1 — and safety experts are among those applauding the new safety measure.

“AAA and other safety organizations advocated for the new law to prevent the tragic toll of death and injuries,” said Patti Artessa, AAA Northeast regional director of public and government affairs. From 2010 to 2019, 296 unbuckled rear seat passengers age 16 and up were killed and 25,527 were injured in New York State. Unbuckled rear seat passengers are twice as likely to be killed, eight times as likely to be seriously injured and twice as likely to kill a front seat passenger when flung forward, compared with those wearing seatbelts.

Rear passengers in for-hire and livery vehicles also must buckle up beginning November 1st, and an additional law that takes effect in January requires stretch limousines already on the road to have seatbelts at every seating position by January 2023, with new limos hitting the road after Jan. 1 requiring the belts and their usage.

Rear passengers ages 16 and up who fail to buckle up would receive the ticket themselves, with a fine of $50 — plus a $93 surcharge — but no points. Drivers remain responsible for ensuring that passengers under 16 years old are properly restrained, with fines ranging from $25 to $100.

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