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AAA comments on rear seat belt law


Wed, Aug 12th 2020 10:45 am

Lifesaving law goes into effect Nov. 1

By AAA of Western and Central New York

Gov. Cuomo signed a new law Monday, which goes into effect Nov. 1, requiring all passengers to wear a seat belt in the back seat of a motor vehicle, including passengers of ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft. Until now, passengers over age 16 were not required to wear seat belts in the rear seat in New York. The new law, championed by AAA New York state, will save lives and prevent injuries across state roadways by requiring all occupants in a motor vehicle to buckle up.

Over the last decade, nearly 300 people were killed and over 25,000 were injured unrestrained in the back seat of a motor vehicle. This accounts for eight injuries per day across New York state.

“As an advocate for traffic safety, AAA supports the new law requiring rear seat belt use in New York. While critics may claim that we don’t need another traffic law, research shows that states with rear seat belt requirements consistently have higher overall seat belt usage rates and seat belts are proven to save lives,” said Elizabeth Carey, director of public relations at AAA Western and Central New York.

The governor’s press office released this quote from Cuomo: "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. 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." One can find the full press release here.

According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), teens and young adults 16-24 are least likely to buckle up and most likely to die compared to any other age group in New York state. AnchorSeat belt use unequivocally reduces risk of injury and death for all vehicle occupants. Rear seat occupants who fail to buckle up are:

√ 2 times more likely to be killed

√ 8 times more likely to be seriously injured

√ 2 times more likely to kill a front seat occupant by becoming a projectile      

The current fine for an unbuckled front seat passenger is $50. The fine will remain the same and will be extended to unbuckled back seat passengers, as well. New York will join 30 other states which have implemented similar laws.

AAA spearheaded a group of over 25 organizations representing traffic safety, public health, health care professionals, first responders and the insurance industry to advocate for passage of the law.

As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 887,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.

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