No one likes being stopped by police while driving, and the penalty for not wearing a seat belt can be severe.
Furthermore, being in a car accident while not wearing a seat belt may affect a future injury claim. To protect your license and your rights, it’s important to work with an experienced and skilled traffic lawyer in New York if you’re involved in an accident.
Why Are Seat Belts So Important?
Research shows that seat belt use can reduce the risk of injury or death in an auto accident by up to 50%. That’s significant when considering that auto accidents are the leading cause of death for those aged five to 34.
Every year, thousands of people visit New York’s emergency rooms because of car accidents. Seat belt usage can prevent serious injury and death, but some people still refuse to buckle up.
What Are New York’s Seat Belt Laws?
New York has some of the country’s strongest seat belt laws. If you’ve ever wondered “can a passenger get a ticket for no seatbelt,” the answer is yes, they can. According to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, drivers and all passengers, no matter their age or where they’re seated, must wear seat belts. While some states consider it to be a secondary offense, it’s possible for a New York law enforcement officer to stop you just for not wearing a seat belt. The offense may add three points to your license.
Drivers must also ensure that children under eight years of age are secured in an appropriate restraint system. The state doesn’t specify the manufacturer or type required, but the system must be appropriate for the child’s weight and age. Failure to secure a child in a vehicle can result in stiff penalties and high fines.
Consequences for Failing to Wear a Seat Belt
If you don’t buckle up, a ticket comes with a minimum fine of $50. As the driver, you could also face a fine of up to $100 for every passenger who doesn’t wear a seat belt. Not only will you receive a citation and a fine, but points may be assessed on your driver’s license for each passenger who isn’t strapped in.
Points on a driver’s license can add up fast, resulting in a loss of driving privileges. In New York, a driver can lose their license after receiving 11 points within 18 months. Having four passengers without seat belts will put you over that limit, and your insurance costs will likely increase. After getting a ticket for a seat belt violation, it’s best to consult a trusted attorney who can protect your license, your rights, and your low insurance premiums.
What to Do After Receiving a Citation
After getting a ticket for not wearing a seat belt, there’s a limited time within which to act. Paying the fine is an admission of guilt, and if you’re nearing the 11-point limit, paying that fine may not be the right decision. Instead, contact a lawyer who can contest the ticket and request reduced penalties. You may have had a good reason not to buckle up, but it’s tough to be sure until you’ve spoken with an experienced seat belt lawyer.
Don’t Wait—Call a Lawyer Today
The clock starts ticking the minute the ticket is issued, so a driver who has received a seat belt citation should act quickly. Contact our law offices to book a no-cost consultation or request more information via our online contact form.