In 1964, the National Safety Council released a public service announcement with a (then) catchy jingle that encouraged everyone to ‘buckle up for safety.’ More than 50 years later, that suggestion has now become the law in New York State. On November 1, 2020, New York’s new universal seat belt law went into effect. https://dmv.ny.gov/brochure/new-york-states-occupant-restraint-law This law requires all motor vehicle passengers, no matter what age or seat location, to wear a seat belt at all times. Prior to this legislation, the law only required drivers and front seat passengers to buckle up.
Why is this important? According to the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, passengers who do not wear seatbelts account for 30% of all highway deaths. This law is not only for private vehicles, but also includes passengers in rideshare vehicles, such as Uber and Lyft, and taxis. If an adult rideshare passenger is found not to being wearing a seat belt, he or she may receive a ticket.
Unfortunately, tragedy from not wearing a seatbelt can befall anyone. Bob Simon, a reporter from the television show 60 Minutes, suffered a fatal car crash as an unsecured passenger in the back seat.https://www.mercurynews.com/2015/02/12/60-minutes-reporter-bob-simon-not-wearing-seat-belt-before-fatal-crash/ And of course, Princess Diana perished while a back seat passenger. In that crash, she and two others were killed, but there was one survivor — the only passenger wearing a seatbelt.
The value of the law is clear and should be welcomed by all. As the National Safety Council’s old jingle preached – Buckle Up for Safety!