ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A new expansion to the current New York State seat belt law will require everyone in the car to buckle up. Starting November 1, anyone over the age of 16 must wear their seat belt in the back seat.
Currently, the law requires individuals over 16 to wear seat belts in the front seat only. Those under 16, however, legally have to wear a belt in every seat of the car.
Kurt Edwards, Chief of Trauma and Critical Care in the Department of Surgery at Albany Medical Center, believes this addition to the law could save lives.
“I don’t get to see a lot of the people who weren’t wearing seat belts in the back because they never make it to my trauma center…because they die,” Edwards said.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts reduce the seriousness of crash-related injuries and deaths by almost half.
“Nobody wants to see new laws, but you also don’t want to see people pass away in fatal accidents,” Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said.
Although the new law goes into effect on November 1, Apple wants to ensure drivers and passengers will receive a grace period for tickets through his agency. Additionally, warnings and eventual enforcement will only happen after a car is already pulled over.
“It’s a little unreasonable to think you’re going to see that, especially because backseats are hidden even a little bit more,” Apple said.
When enforcement does roll out, the passenger who didn’t buckle up will be the only one given a ticket for a maximum of $50.