Car Seat and Seat Belt Laws in New York State
A new New York State law was enforced on November 1, 2019: any child under the age of 2 who is riding in a vehicle is required to be in a rear-facing car seat. If a child outgrows an infant-only seat before reaching his or her second birthday, a convertible or all-in-one car seat with higher rear-facing height and weight limits should be installed in the rear-facing position until the child reaches the rear-facing weight or height limit set by the car seat manufacturer. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-facing seats are the safest option for a young child because they are equipped with a harness and are more protective and likely to reduce the stress to a child's neck and spine in case of a motor vehicle crash. New York State law also dictates that all children under the age of 4 ride in child safety seats and all children ride in child restraint systems until their 8th birthday. Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13, according to the NHTSA.
All front seat passengers are required by New York State law to wear seat belts. Passengers under the age of 16 must wear seat belts whether they are in the front seat or the back seat. A driver in New York State can receive a fine of up to $100 and three points when convicted for a seat belt or car seat violation for a person under the age of 16. The penalty for a seat belt violation for someone over the age of 16 who is not using a seat belt when riding in the front seat is up to $50.
Safety seats and child restraint systems must be certified, according to Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standard 213. It is, unfortunately, very common for child safety restraint systems to be installed incorrectly. Check out the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee website for a list of permanent child safety seat fitting stations in NY State. Learn more about car seat regulations as well as safety issues relating to child safety seats and air bags, laws and recommendations, go to: https://dmv.ny.gov/more-info/safety-restraints.
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