ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — A bill that would require adults to wear seat belts in the back seats of vehicles has passed in both the New York State Assembly, and the New York State Senate, and is now on its way to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk for a signature.
Around 10 a.m. Tuesday, the governor announced he signed that legislation.
The bill, A6163, says “no person sixteen years of age or over shall be a passenger in the back seat of a motor vehicle, unless such person is restrained by a safety belt.” Existing New York state laws require people under the age of 16 to wear seat belts in the back seat.
“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,” Gov. Cuomo said in a press release. “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.”
According to the governor’s office, In 1984, under Gov. Mario Cuomo, New York became the first state to pass a mandatory seat belt law and in the same year, according to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, approximately 16% of individuals wore seat belts. By 2008, 24 years after the law was enacted, the compliance rate was up to 89%.
Seatbelts can reduce fatal car crashes by as much as 60%, and even minor fender benders can be lethal. According to State Sen. Brad Hoylman’s (D/WF-Manhattan), “Seatbelts save lives, but so do seatbelt laws.”
The new law takes effect November 1.