Drivers Penalized for Failing to Buckle Up

As some New Yorkers may have found to their dismay, state law enforcement recently conducted a two-week crackdown on seatbelt law violators. Called "Buckle Up New York." this campaign to promote seatbelt use has been conducted periodically for eight years.

A Primary Law

New York's seatbelt law is a primary traffic violations law, which means that a driver can be stopped for just a seatbelt violation by anyone in the car; there need not be any other violation to justify the stop. The driver and every front seat passenger must each wear a seat belt. For failing to wear a belt, the driver and any front seat passenger aged 16 and up can be fined up to $50.

Responsibility for Young Passengers

Additionally, the driver is responsible for making sure that each passenger under the age of 16 is properly restrained. Parents should become thoroughly familiar with the kinds of child restraints that are appropriate for their children at various ages.

Children under four must ride in an approved, properly anchored or belted safety seat. Older children through age seven have to use a booster seat and lap and shoulder belt, or a safety seat. Having a child in the car who is not properly restrained can result in a fine of up to $100 for the driver.

Besides a fine, a driver can receive three driver license penalty points for each violation of the requirement to restrain a child.

Many Tickets Issued

In 2011 New York law enforcement officers issued 306,693 tickets for seatbelt violations. Chances are that in many of these cases a knowledgeable attorney could help a driver avoid the maximum penalties. An attorney will know, for example, whether an exception to the seatbelt law might apply. While fines are not especially high compared to the penalties for some other driving offenses, it is worthwhile to avoid acquiring penalty points.