Here is another article in our series about things going on around Rochester.
All throughout New York state, police are cracking down on motorists who aren’t buckled up as part of a national seat belt enforcement campaign until Sunday, May 31.
During the campaign, both state and local police will aggressively enforce New York’s seat belt laws. There will also be message boards reminding drivers to buckle up.
This new initiative won’t affect the vast majority of New York state. According to Cuomo’s office, about 91% of the Empire State’s motorists — a whopping 17,972,500 people — regularly wear their seat belts already.
However, that still leaves 1,777,500 people who can’t be bothered by their cars’ safety restraints, nor the laws requiring them to buckle up.
Though these drivers may think the laws are unnecessary, they serve a valuable purpose. For over one hundred years, state courts have looked to evidence of legislative intent when construing state law. They look for the spirit of the law, the reason legislators created it. In New York state, the law requires all front seat passengers to wear their seat belts. Children ages 15 and under must wear their seat belts in both the front and the back, and children under the age of four must ride in safety seats.
“The penalty for a seat belt or car seat violation is a fine of up $50,” according to the website of New York state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. “If the violation is for a person under the age of 16, the driver receives a maximum fine of $100 and three driver violation points upon conviction.”
So what then is the point of laws forcing people to wear seat belts?
Simply put, both the laws and seat belts are there to save lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half.
Not only should the 9% of non-seat belt wearing New Yorkers watch out throughout the rest of the month of May, but each time they don’t wear a seat belt. After all, they’re putting their own lives in danger.