ALBANY – New York’s Governor signed a new seatbelt law on Tuesday that now requires all passengers in a vehicle to buckle up.
Governor Andrew Cuomo says it has been known for decades that seat belts save lives, and with the new measure, the state is hoping to prevent needless tragedies.
“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,” said Cuomo in a statement. “Now we are building upon this legacy and helping to create a safer and stronger Empire State for all.”
In 1984, under Governor 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 percent of individuals wore seat belts.
By 2008, 24 years after the law was enacted, the compliance rate was up to 89 percent.
Currently, passengers ages 16 and older are only required to wear a seat belt in the front passenger seat next to the driver.
The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee has indicated 30 percent of highway deaths in New York are occupants unrestrained by a seat belt.
Safety experts believe that the use of a backseat seat belt could prevent over two thirds of fatalities and serious injuries resulting from crashes.
The new law takes effect November 1.