Denlea & Carton


September 19, 2023

What Is New York’s Seat Belt Law in 2023?

Understanding New York’s Safety Laws

On November 1st, 2020, New York State implemented a law that mandated using safety belts in all motor vehicles. Under previous law, individuals over 16 didn’t have to buckle up in the backseat. This law, Bill S.4336, signed by Andrew Cuomo, now requires all passengers older than four to buckle up in the backseat. Law enforcement can now lawfully ticket motorists who fail to abide by New York’s new seatbelt laws. 

If you or a loved one have been in a car accident, it may be due to someone else’s negligence. In that case, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. Contact our office at (914) 840-5927 to schedule a free legal consultation with our experienced personal injury attorneys.

Background of the Legislation

The previous governor of New York, Mario Cuomo, implemented legislation thirty-six years before the signing of S.4336. This previous legislation required the usage of seatbelts for front-seat passengers and drivers only. It was, however, the first of its kind – New York was the country’s first state to require seat belts. 

The original 1984 legislation increased seat belt usage on a drastic level, from 16% in 1984 to 92.8% in 2018. Since implementing New York’s seatbelt law, many other states have followed New York’s lead. Every other state in the territory, minus New Hampshire, has implemented primary or secondary enforcement laws to penalize non-compliant individuals. 

Declining Seat Belt Use

“Seatbelts save lives,” is a slogan we’ve all heard many times. Sadly, many still feel there is an exception to this rule. In 2020, the insurance company Zebra surveyed over 1,000 Americans to discover seat belt usage rates in rideshares compared to driving their vehicles. The numbers were staggering, showing that 28% of Americans skip wearing their seatbelt in a rideshare, and 9 out of 10 Americans report they don’t buckle up in their cars. 

The truth is that one of the safest decisions you can make for yourself and your loved ones is to buckle up! A study by the National Highway Safety Administration stated that the national use rate of the seatbelt was much higher in 2019, at 90.7%. In 2017, seatbelt use saved an estimated 14,955 lives. 

Under this new legislation, all motorists – including taxis and ride-share services including Uber and Lyft- must buckle up their seatbelts. All non-commercial and commercial passenger vehicles will also fall under the new seatbelt legislation. Additionally, it is valuable to remember to buckle up no matter what location you are seated in the car. 

The New York DMV states that children under four must use a federally approved child safety seat. In addition, children between four and seven must use a booster seat with a lap and a shoulder belt or safety seat. 

The penalties for not adhering to New York’s safety belt laws are as follows. Fines can be between $25 and $100 per violation, and the driver may receive up to three driver’s license penalty points for each violation. Limit violations and keep your friends and family safe – it is important to remember that everyone in your vehicle must always buckle their seatbelt wherever they are seated inside the car. 

Contacting an Experienced Attorney

We are committed to helping victims of personal injury tragedies, including car accidents. As a personal injury law firm, we have seen firsthand the devastation caused when individuals decide not to wear seatbelts. Always remember to buckle up, as it’s essential to follow the law while keeping yourself and your loved ones safe. If you have been injured and need legal help, contact our office at (914) 840-5927 to schedule a free legal consultation.



James R. Denlea

Jeffrey I. Carton

Robert J. Berg

Lindsey Leibowitz

Amber Wallace

John Leifert

Craig Cepler

Steven Schoenfeld

Stan Sharovskiy

Phil Smith

Martin McCann

Catherine Friesen

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