A new law went into effect on November 1 that updates New York regulations to require seat belts for all passengers in a car.
You may have thought seat belts were already required for all passengers. Previously, state laws stated that all children must wear seat belts; however, passengers over 16 would only need to wear a seat belt if they sat in the front, but not in a back seat. The new law extends this requirement to all passengers of all ages, front- and backseat.
Most states in the US now have similar laws in place requiring seat belts for all drivers and passengers, but there are still some states, like Nevada, Vermont, and Massachusetts, that still do not require adult rear-seat passengers to use seat belts.
To announce the new legislation, Governor Cuomo said, “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. 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.”
The Proven Safety Benefits of Seat Belts
The first time seat belts were introduced in the world was in 1959—surprisingly recently, considering that cars have been widely used since the start of the 1900s. The benefits of wearing a seat belt are apparent and first and foremost, they help save lives.
According to the CDC, seat belts reduce the risk of death by 45%, and cut the risk of serious injury by 50% for drivers and front-seat passengers. The CDC also reports that people not wearing a seat belt are 30 times more likely to be thrown from a vehicle during an accident.
Your seat belt is also designed to work with your airbags to keep your body from hitting into specific areas of the car. Another benefit of wearing your seat belt is that it can save you from incurring fines should you be pulled over and found to not be wearing one in accordance with the law (although this benefit is, of course, significantly less important than the safety advantages it provides to drivers and passengers).
Seat belts are undeniably an immensely beneficial factor when it comes to road safety. This new law will continue to encourage the best protection for all drivers and passengers, and especially those who unfortunately find themselves in a car accident.
How Seat Belts Affect Personal Injury Claims
Victims of a car accident can often claim compensation from either their insurance company or the insurance of the person who was at fault for the accident. This compensation can cover medical expenses, damages to your vehicle, compensation for pain and suffering, and more.
But if you are found to have been breaking any laws at the time of the accident—such as not wearing a seat belt—this will limit your ability to claim compensation and the total amount of compensation you can receive. Specifically in the case of not wearing a seat belt, a plaintiff cannot recover damages for any injuries sustained that wouldn’t have occurred if the seat belt were correctly used.
It’s incumbent on the defendant to show the injuries sustained by the plaintiff were due to their failure to wear a seat belt.
Not wearing a seatbelt not only puts you at greater risk of injury and death, but it will also prevent you from receiving financial aid to recuperate from the effects of an accident.
Get Representation for Your New York Personal Injury Claim
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, it’s a good idea to seek legal representation as you seek to recuperate losses.
Any driver that has sustained damages in a crash which wasn’t their fault can file a claim with their own insurance company, with the other driver’s insurance company, or directly against the party who is at fault. But sometimes the party at fault isn’t clear, and you need legal aid to ensure you are fairly compensated, and that you are not unfairly blamed.
Speak with a New York auto accident lawyer from Napoli Shkolnik today for help navigating your claim.