State will crackdown on seat belt use
NEW YORK--Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the 21st annual "Buckle Up New York, Click It or Ticket" enforcement campaign is underway and will run through Nov. 29. The statewide campaign, supported by the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, raises awareness about the importance of wearing seat belts. Throughout the mobilization, state and local law enforcement agencies are using marked and unmarked vehicles, checkpoints, and roving details to patrol for unbelted occupants. Law enforcement is also making sure children are properly restrained. During last year's enforcement campaign, police issued 26,432 tickets for seat belt and child restraint violations.
"Wearing your seat belt isn't only the law, but it's the smartest choice you can make to help prevent a needless tragedy," Cuomo said. "New York has been a national leader on this issue ever since my father helped institute the country's first seat belt law, and while we've made a great deal of progress over the years, we still see instances where they are not being used. There is no debate -- seat belts save lives and we will continue to raise awareness on this indisputable fact to help ensure all those who travel on New York's roadways do so safely."
In August, Gov. Cuomo signed legislation that strengthens the state's seat belt laws. As of Nov. 1, everyone in passenger vehicles, regardless of where they sit, needs to wear a seat belt or be properly restrained in a child safety seat. In New York, police can lawfully ticket motorists for not wearing a seat belt even if they are not committing any other traffic infractions.
The state's seat belt compliance rate has remained at or above 90 percent since 2010, reaching a record 94 percent last year, according to data from the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research at the University at Albany's Rockefeller College.
To further promote awareness, GTSC has continued its partnership with Xfinity Series driver Ross Chastain and Spire Sports to encourage seat belt use through the "Protect Your Melon" campaign. As part of this initiative, 1,500,000 watermelons labeled with "Protect Your Melon" and "Buckle Up" were sold in grocery stores throughout the state during the spring and summer months, along with Chastain cardboard cut-outs and watermelon bin posters. Additionally, Chastain uses his large social media following to promote seat belt use in New York.