Assembly Passes Life-Saving Seat Belt Legislation

Speaker Carl Heastie, Assembly Transportation Committee Chair William B. Magnarelli and Assemblymember Walter T. Mosley today announced that the Assembly passed legislation requiring all passengers 16 years of age or older wear seat belts while riding in the back seat (A.6163, Mosley).

“The Assembly Majority is committed to making sure our roads are safe for everyone,” Speaker Heastie said. “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.”

“Accidents happen, but this bill will make our roads safer for everyone who gets in a car,” Assemblymember Magnarelli 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.”

“Too many of the deaths we see on our roads are preventable,” Assemblymember Mosley said. “Since 1985, more than 1,500 adults have lost their lives for failure to wear their seat belt in the backseat. Because of this legislation many families will be able to avoid the tragedy and heartbreak that over 1,500 families could not. We thank the advocates for their steadfast support of the bill, requiring seat belts no matter a person’s age or seat in a car will save lives. I am proud to have sponsored legislation that will help protect and keep New Yorkers safe.”

Current law requires passengers 16 years of age or older to wear a seat belt if they are in the front seat, but not in the rear of the vehicle. This bill would require passengers to wear a seat belt regardless of their seating position in a vehicle. Passengers under 16 years of age are already required to wear a seat belt in both the front and rear of a vehicle.

Safety experts believe that the use of rear seat belts could prevent more than two thirds of fatalities and serious injuries, which is why 27 states and the District of Columbia have already instituted laws requiring seat belts for passengers in the backseat of a vehicle. In fatal crashes, about 83 percent of people who were ejected from the vehicle were killed. In 2017, it was reported that one percent of those who were wearing a seat belt were fully ejected as opposed to 28 percent of those who were not using a seat belt. Seat belts also help prevent passengers from acting as projectiles inside a vehicle, killing or injuring other passengers. Research has shown a 60 pound unbelted passenger would exert a force of nearly 2,700 pounds into the driver’s seat in a head on crash at 30 miles per hour and the force of impact of an unbelted passenger into the driver’s seat increases dramatically at higher speeds.