Using a seat belt when in a vehicle is not a mere suggestion in New York. It is the law. According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, it is a primary enforcement state, which means that officers can pull over and ticket someone for not wearing a seat belt. This is different than a secondary state, which requires officers to have a reason other than seat belt use for stopping a vehicle.
State laws require that all front-seat occupants use seat belts and that any passenger in the vehicle under age 16 to wear one or use an appropriate child safety seat. Anyone age 16 or older may receive a ticket for not complying with the law.
Primary enforcement is important
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, states with primary enforcement see much higher numbers of people who wear their seat belts than secondary enforcement states. Such laws make it easier to enforce the law and save lives since wearing a seat belt can greatly increase the chances of surviving an auto accident.
Seat belt use is essential
While statistics show that one in every seven people fail to use their seat belts, they also show that seat belt use can almost cut the risk in half of dying in an accident. In fact, most people who die in a crash are not wearing a seat belt. Use also helps reduce the chances of ejection during a crash. The estimate is that since 1975, when seat belt use began becoming more prevalent, over 250,000 people have survived accidents due to using this safety device.