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Safety groups, medical professionals urge Cuomo to sign seat belt bill into law

Posted at 12:45 PM, Jul 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-29 12:55:24-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A coalition of traffic safety and public health organizations are calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign legislation that would require people aged 16 and older to buckle up in the back seat of a vehicle.

"It is time for New York to join the 19 states and Washington, D.C. that have already taken this essential action to protect all occupants," the coalition said in a joint statement on Wednesday. The American Academy of Pediatrics, AAA New York State, and National Safety Council are among the 11 organizations involved in the effort.

The State Legislature passed legislation in March to strengthen the existing seat belt law. Since then, the legislation has sat on Cuomo's desk while he has been battling the COVID-19 outbreak across the state.

"The absence of a rear seat belt requirement leaves young people particularly vulnerable because rear seat occupants ages 16-24 have the lowest rate of belt use and account for approximately half of the state’s motor vehicle crash fatalities," the joint statement says.

Under current New York law, only those under 16 need to buckle up in the rear seats.

When asked if Cuomo is planning on signing the legislation into law, a spokesperson from the Governor's office said they will be reviewing the bill.