New York Seat Belt Law

Picture of frontseat seatbelt

As of November 1st, 2020, New York has a new seat belt law, which requires all occupants in vehicles to use seat belts regardless of where they are in the vehicle. Previously, passengers 16 years of age or older were not required to wear seat belts in the back seats of vehicles.

The seat belt law applies to all vehicles, including personal vehicles, taxis, and ride share vehicles, such as Uber and Lyft.

The purpose of the law is to reduce injuries to occupants in both the front and back of vehicles. Wearing a seat belt in the back seat protects the front seat occupants. If the backseat passenger is not wearing a seat belt, they can be “launched” forward in an accident.

In personal injury lawsuits, a victim’s recovery can be reduced due to the failure to wear a seat belt. If a defendant is able to establish that the victim’s injuries would have been lessened by the wearing of a seat belt, the jury can reduce the damages recovered so that the victim only recovers for the amount of injuries that would have been sustained had the victim been wearing a seat belt. This has been the law for many years.

Thus, there are many good reasons for all occupants of a vehicle to wear a seat belt. It is the law. More importantly, doing so protects the person wearing the seat belt as well as other people in the vehicle. Buckle up!

The law firm of Zalman Schnurman & Miner is experienced in handling automobile accident cases. All consultations are free and all cases are handled on a contingency fee basis. For a free consultation call 1-800-LAWLINE (1-800-529-5463) or email

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