Seat belts could become mandatory for NYS backseat riders

UTICA, N.Y.--Backseat passengers may be required to wear a seat belt, regardless of age, due to a push from Albany.

Posted: Jan 24, 2018 11:36 PM
Updated: Jan 25, 2018 12:33 AM

UTICA, N.Y.--Backseat passengers may be required to wear a seat belt, regardless of age, due to a push from Albany.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new public safety initiative as part of his 2018-19 state budget plan, including a provision expanding belted riding requirements to the back seat.

Currently, drivers and front passengers must wear a seat belt at all times, as well as any passenger under 16. This law would mandate all adults riding in the back seat wear the restraints as well.

Locally, many passengers support the law, as they already practice what it preaches.

"You can get ejected out of the back seat just as easy as you could out of the front seat in an accident," Bryant Kelly, a Little Falls resident said. "That's why they put them in the back seat, so you should wear them."

"It's been a habit for me for a long time to have it on when I'm riding, so I don't feel right if I don't have it on," Nancy Laguna, a Holland Patent resident said.

This proposal follows in the footsteps of another safety law pertaining to children. 

In October, a law was signed requiring all children to ride in a rear-facing seat until the age of two. The law goes into effect in November of 2019.

"Children should stay rear-facing until they're at least two years old and really safer, is to keep them rear-facing as long as they will fit in their car seat," Taryn Rio, a local pediatrician said. "Their head is big compared to their neck and in a crash, they could even sever their spinal cord. If you're rear-facing, the head goes into the seat."

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