Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that "Buckle Up New York," a 14-day statewide campaign aimed to crack down on drivers and their passengers who do not wear seatbelts, will be launched by the New York State Police on Monday, May 21 and continue through Sunday, June 3.
"The evidence is clear seatbelts save lives," Governor Cuomo said. "New York State has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to enforcing this life-saving rule. It only takes a few seconds to fasten a seatbelt or to secure a child's safety seat, and this campaign encourages all New Yorkers to take a moment to buckle up and save a life."
During the 14-day campaign, the State Police will join approximately 400 local law enforcement units from across New York to focus on enforcing the state's seatbelt law.
New York State's seatbelt law is a primary law, meaning a police officer may stop you simply because you are not wearing your seatbelt. Front seat passengers 16 and older may be fined up to $50 if they do not wear their seatbelt. Drivers may be fined up to $100 for each passenger under the age of 16 who is not properly restrained in their vehicles. The driver will also receive three violation points on his or her Department of Motor Vehicles record.
State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D'Amico said, "The threat of injury and death in car crashes increases significantly when motorists and passengers do not wear their seat belts. For the next two weeks, troopers, deputies and police officers statewide will be conducting checkpoints to ensure that motorists and passengers are obeying the seatbelt laws. Our message is very clear: it's click it or ticket-- seatbelts save lives."
Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner and Chair of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Barbara J. Fiala said, "Buckling up is the easiest way to prevent injuries and fatalities should your vehicle become involved in a crash. Yet, we know too many motorists are still not wearing their seat belts. Motorists need to remember to buckle up every trip, every time."
Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas J. Madison said, "Let's save lives by obeying the seatbelt law. All front seat occupants must buckle up; all children under 16 years of age, in the front or back seat, must buckle up; all children under the age of 8 must be restrained in an appropriate child restraint system while riding in a motor vehicle in New York State."
The Governor's Traffic Safety Committee funds Buckle Up New York campaigns through a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The grant enables the State Police to focus patrol resources on violations of the state's seatbelt law and supplements conventional traffic safety and enforcement efforts. The State Police have operated Buckle Up New York campaigns for the past eight years with two enforcement periods each year. The State Police issued 19,636 seatbelt related tickets to motorists during the initiative in May 2011. In 2011 overall, 306,693 tickets, including 80,697 by State Police, were issued to motorists who violated the state seatbelt law.
Additional driver safety tips and information are available on the Thruway Authority's website at http://www.thruway.ny.gov/travelers/safety/drivingsafety.html and the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee website at http://www.safeny.ny.gov/ .