FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 3, 2020
CONTACT: Pete Daniels / firstname.lastname@example.org / 202-408-1711 / 301-442-2249 (C)
Statement of Cathy Chase, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, on New York State Legislature Passing Seat Belt Bill
Provides Governor Andrew Cuomo a Ready Opportunity to Add to the State’s Safety Legacy
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) commends the New York State Legislature, and especially bill sponsors Senator David Carlucci (D) and Assemblyman Walter Mosley (D), for advancing Senate Bill (S.) 4336 / Assembly Bill (A.) 6163 to require all vehicle occupants to use seat belts, and urges Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) to expeditiously sign this measure into law. In 1984, Governor Mario Cuomo (D) signed into law the Nation’s first primary enforcement law for drivers and front seat passengers. Since then, 19 states and Washington, D.C. have taken the next step and enacted laws requiring rear seat passengers to buckle up as well. It is time for New York to do the same.
Seat belts are proven lifesavers having protected the lives of 396 people on New York roads in 2017. Yet, 41 more lives could have been saved if everyone had used seat belts, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Additionally, nearly 40 percent of the passenger vehicle occupants killed in New York in 2018 were unrestrained when restraint use was known. And, unbelted rear seat passengers are three times more likely than belted rear seat passengers to die in a crash.
Highway safety laws are effective at promoting safe behavior on our roads. A poll released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that nearly 40 percent of people surveyed said they sometimes don’t buckle up in the rear seat because there is no law requiring it. 60 percent of respondents to that same poll said they would use a rear seat belt if such a law existed.
From 1975 to 2010, across the Nation, over 360,000 lives could have been saved and 5.8 million injuries could have been prevented if all occupants had worn seat belts, according to NHTSA. By signing S. 4336/ A. 6163 into law, Governor Cuomo will send a strong message that New York is committed to reducing the preventable motor vehicle crash death and injury toll for decades to come.
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is an alliance of consumer, medical, public health, and safety groups and insurance companies and agents working together to make America’s roads safer. Advocates’ mission is the adoption of federal and state laws, policies and programs that prevent motor vehicle crashes, save lives, reduce injuries, and contain costs.