A Quick Guide to the New York Seatbelt Laws
Seatbelt laws vary from state to state. Whether you live in New York or you’re just visiting, you should familiarize yourself with the applicable laws to avoid consequences such as:
- Going to court
- Paying hefty fines
- Getting demerit points
- Taking driver improvement classes
- Raised insurance premiums
- Getting your license suspended
In this guide, we have summarized the New York seatbelt laws to help you when driving on the roads of the Empire State.
New York has a primary enforcement seatbelt law. An officer can stop and ticket you for not wearing a seatbelt whether you are a resident or visiting the state. The New York seatbelt law requires the driver and all front seat passengers to wear safety belts.
There is no requirement for back seat passengers over 16 years of age to wear seatbelts unless the vehicle is operated by a holder of a Limited Class-DJ, Class-DJ Learner Permit, or Class-DJ driver’s license.
Here is the overview of the children seatbelt laws in NY:
- Children under 16 must be properly secured with seatbelts or child restraint systems no matter where they are seated
- Children under four years of age weighing more than 40 pounds should use appropriate booster seats
- A federally approved child restraint system must be used for children under the age of eight. The seat should have a lap and shoulder belt
- A child passenger who weighs more than 100 pounds or has a height of at least four feet nine inches can use regular safety belts with a lap belt and a shoulder harness
The NYS seatbelt law exemptions include:
- Persons in emergency vehicles
- Passengers in motor vehicles manufactured in 1964 or older
- Occupants in buses other than school buses
- Rural letter carriers, when delivering mail
- People with physical conditions that prevent them from properly using a seatbelt—They must have official medical proof, which should be carried whenever they travel
The state requires school buses to adhere to the following:
- School buses manufactured after July 1st, 1987, must be equipped with seatbelts, and all children should be properly secured
- A person operating a school bus must wear a seatbelt
- Children under the age of four must be properly secured in federally certified child safety seats
Different school districts may also have additional child seatbelt rules for school buses.
Seatbelt fines in New York can set you back a pretty penny:
- The driver or a front seat passenger can get a fine of up to $50
- Child passenger safety violation can go anywhere from $25 to $100
The driver will also get three penalty points if a child under the age of 16 is not restrained in the right car seat. The seatbelt violation is not a moving violation, and no points are assigned to a driver or passenger who is 16 years old and older.
If you accumulate 11 points within 18 months, your license can be suspended. Insurance providers use their own point systems, and they can adjust your premiums based on your driving record. If you want to know how the driving record affects your rates, talk to your insurance agent.
Instead of pleading guilty and paying the fine, you can dispute the seatbelt ticket. The trick is having a valid reason for not wearing the safety belt or securing the child properly, for example:
- Driving in reverse
- Having an emergency
- Attending to the child's needs
- Having a medical condition
- Having a faulty seatbelt
If the officer did not pull you over to confirm, you may also argue that you had the seatbelt on.
Would you like to maximize your chances of getting the seatbelt ticket dismissed? Then you need to use smart and time-tested strategies. DoNotPay will help you create and send a strong appeal letter to the relevant authorities within minutes.
Hiring a lawyer is great, but with DoNotPay, you don't need to break the bank to get the right kind of help when you need it the most. We know what makes a good seatbelt ticket appeal letter, and we will create one for you as soon as you:
- Sign up for DoNotPay
- Find the Seatbelt Ticket tool
- Tell us who got the ticket and upload a photo of the ticket
- Provide more information about the situation by answering a few questions
- Choose the type of defense you would like us to use
This will take less than five minutes, and your appeal letter will be sent to the authorities instantly.
You can also use DoNotPay to get answers to the most common seatbelt question:
- What happens if you don’t pay your seatbelt ticket?
- Who gets a citation for a 16-year-old who is not wearing a safety belt?
- How can you keep a child from unbuckling the seatbelt?
- Why is it important to wear a seatbelt?
- Does a seatbelt ticket count as a point?
Don’t stop there! If you’re on the road often, check out our simplified guides to seatbelt laws in other states:
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