Everyone riding in a motor vehicle will have to wear a seat belt, regardless of their age or where they’re sitting, according to a new law signed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday. The law will take effect on Nov. 1.
Currently, passengers aged 16 and older are only required to wear a seat belt in the front seat. The new law will require seat belts to be worn in the backseat as well.
“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,” Cuomo said in a release. “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.”
New York became the first state to pass mandatory seat belt laws in 1984, under the leadership of then-Gov. Mario Cuomo. According to the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, roughly 30% of highway deaths in New York are passengers not wearing a seat belt.
State officials said they believe seat belts in the backseat could prevent more than two-thirds of fatalities and serious injuries.