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N.Y.S. Occupant Restraint Law

Vehicle and Traffic Law Occupant Restraint Law

Source: NYS Department of Motor Vehicles (dmv.ny.org)

Highlights of New York State's occupant restraint law:

  • In the front seat, the driver and each passenger must wear a seat belt, one person per belt. The driver and front-seat passengers aged 16 or older can be fined up to $50 each for failure to buckle up.
  • Every occupant, regardless of age or seating position, of a motor vehicle being operated by the holder of a Class-DJ Learner Permit, a Limited Class-DJ, or Class-DJ Driver License must be restrained by a safety restraint.
  • Each passenger under age 16 must wear a seat belt or use an appropriate child safety restraint system. The restraint system must comply with the child height and weight recommendations determined by the manufacturer. Depending on the size of the child, the restraint system may be a safety seat or a booster seat used in combination with a lap and shoulder belt.
  • The driver must make sure that each passenger under age 16 obeys the law. The driver can be fined $25 to $100 and receive three driver license penalty points for each violation.
  • Seat belt use is not required in taxis or livery vehicles, emergency vehicles, 1964 or older vehicles, or by passengers in buses other than school buses (seat belt use may be required by the school district). Rural letter Carriers are also exempt while they are delivering mail.

CHILDREN IN SEAT BELTS

  • Every child under age 16 in the vehicle must use a safety restraint. If under age four, he or she must be properly secured in a federally-approved child safety seat that is attached to a vehicle by a safety belt or universal child restraint anchorage (LATCH) system. A child under age four who weighs more than 40 pounds may be restrained in a booster seat with a lap and shoulder belt. A child of age 4, 5, 6 or 7, must use a booster seat with lap and shoulder belt or a child safety seat (The child and safety restraint system must meet the height and weight recommendations of the restraint manufacturer.)
  • Exception: A child more than four feet nine inches tall or more than 100 pounds is allowed to use a seat belt that has both a lap belt and a shoulder harness. To use the seat belt, the child must be able to sit straight up against the vehicle's seat back with his or her knees bent comfortably over the edge of the seat. The lap belt should be placed low and tight across the upper thighs; the shoulder belt should rest tightly but comfortably across the child's chest and shoulder (collar bone) without touching the throat. If the seat belt does not fit properly, the child should use a booster seat with a lap and shoulder belt.

SEAT BELTS ON SCHOOL BUSES

  • New York State law requires that large school buses manufactured after July 1, 1987, be equipped with seat belts, and that schools make them accessible to each vehicle occupant. Every school bus driver is required to wear a seat belt, and children under the age of four must ride in properly installed, federally-certified child safety seats. Each school district sets its own policy for seat belt use by the other passengers.

SEAT BELTS IN SCHOOL VEHICLES

  • In a school vehicle which is not built to meet federal school bus construction standards, New York State Law requires that all children must ride in a properly installed, federally-certified child safety seat or booster until their 8th birthday. Vehicles of these types include school cars, vans, suburbans and SUVs.

Vehicle and Traffic Law - Table of Contents

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