Today, the state police launches Buckle Up New York, a 14-day statewide campaign aimed to crack down on drivers and their passengers who do not wear seatbelts. The campaign will continue through June 3.
During the 14-day effort, the state police will join approximately 400 local law-enforcement units from across the state to focus on enforcing the seatbelt law.
Under the law, front-seat passengers ages 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 younger than 16 who is not properly restrained in the vehicle. The driver also will receive three violation points on his Department of Motor Vehicles record.
Law-enforcement authorities will conduct checkpoints over the next two weeks to ensure motorists and passengers are obeying the seatbelt laws. The state police issued 19,636 seatbelt-related tickets to motorists during the initiative last year.
In a news release, state Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner 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 seatbelts. Motorists need to remember to buckle up every trip, every time."
Buckling up indeed saves lives. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wearing a seatbelt can reduce the risk of crash injuries by 50 percent.
The state's campaign is an effective way to raise people's awareness about the importance of using seatbelts. Strapping them on should be automatic for every driver and passenger. We encourage our local motorists to pay special attention to buckling up as the busy vacation season gets under way.