New Yorkers need to be even more mindful than usual about buckling up during the next two weeks. On Monday, May 21 the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) kicked off its statewide “Buckle Up New York, Click It or Ticket” enforcement campaign. The initiative, which runs through Sunday, June 3 aims to encourage motorists, passengers and children to wear seat belts every time they are on the road.
State Troopers and local law enforcement agencies will deploy additional marked and unmarked vehicles, as well as use checkpoints and roving details to patrol for unbelted drivers, unbelted front-seat passengers, and improperly restrained minors. New York State law specifically states:
- All front-seat occupants regardless of age must wear a safety restraint.
- The driver is responsible for all front-seat passengers under the age of 16.
- All rear-seat passengers under the age of 16 must buckle up.
- All children under 4 years old must be restrained in a federally approved child safety seat.
- Children ages 4, 5, 6 and 7 must be properly restrained in an appropriate child restraint system, one that meets the child’s height and weight recommendations according to the child restraint manufacturer.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data indicates that over the past eight years New York’s compliance has remained at or above 90 percent. In 2017, New York drivers set a new compliance record of 93.41 percent. This is reflected in the number of seat belt tickets issued each year. According to the New York State DMV, police wrote more than 162,000 tickets for seat belt violations in 2016. This is a near 7 percent decrease from 2015. Moreover, it represents a 60 percent decrease in annual seat belt tickets since 2009, when police issued more than 409,000 such tickets.
Drivers and adult passengers who do not buckle up can face a $50 ticket per violation, in addition to a mandatory state surcharge of $88 or $93. Though it is a 0-point violation, drivers who plead guilty or are convicted will see the offense show up on their driving record which could impact their auto insurance rates. New Yorkers who are ticketed for having a passenger under the age of 16 who is not properly restrained will face a $100 ticket (plus the surcharge). Paying a child seat ticket or getting convicted in court can result in three points being assessed on one’s New York license. For now, adults in the back seat of a passenger vehicle can ride without a seat belt, although AAA and other groups are working to change that.
A seat belt ticket may seem harmless, but can affect one’s auto insurance rates. In addition, the points associated with a child restraint violation can lead to additional fines and a risk of a license suspension. If you or someone you know has been issued a traffic ticket in New York, it is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney before responding to it. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are experienced traffic ticket attorneys with offices in New York and New Jersey. Email or call 888-883-5529 for a free consultation.