State assembly passes bill requiring passengers 16 years and older to wear seat belts in back seat

Posted at 2:58 PM, Feb 12, 2020

ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — Buckle up! The New York State Assembly passed a bill requiring all passengers in the back seat of a vehicle to wear a seat belt.

"We could save lives if people buckle up," Elizabeth Carey of AAA of Western and Central New York said. She continued, "If you don't buckle up in the back seat, you're twice as likely to be killed, twice as likely to be injured and even more likely to become a projectile."

“The Assembly Majority is committed to making sure our roads are safe for everyone,” Speaker Carl Heastie (D) said in a statement. “When you refuse to wear a seat belt, you are not just taking your own life into your hands, you put at-risk the lives of those in the car with you. Requiring everyone, regardless of where they are sitting, to buckle up will save lives.”

The current law does not require passengers 16 years of age or older to wear a seat belt in the rear of the vehicle. All passengers must wear a seat belt if they are in the front seat.

“Accidents happen, but this bill will make our roads safer for everyone who gets in a car,” Assembly Transportation Committee Chair William Magnarelli (D) said. “As chair of the Transportation Committee, I have worked with my Assembly Majority colleagues to make sure New Yorkers can get around safely and efficiently. This seat belt requirement is just common sense.”

According to Assembly Speaker Heastie's office, safety experts believe more than two thirds of fatalities and serious injuries can be prevented if passengers buckle up in the back seat of a vehicle. The bill will now go to the state senate. If it passes in the senate, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) could either sign or veto the bill.