NYS VTL § 1229-c Operation of vehicles with safety belts and safety seats is the section of law which controls. Here are the basic rules:
Child Safety Seats and Restraints (under 16 years old)
All back seat passengers under the age of four must be restrained in a “specially designed seat” which meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Anyone who purchases a seat should look for a stamp or seal or tag or other notice certifying it as meeting such standards. People should also be careful when it comes to installation. This is something you want done correctly. Check with a local police precinct–there is often someone available to assist with and/or confirm proper installation.
If the child is under four but exceeds 40lbs, a booster seat appropriate for the height/weight of the child should be used in combination with the usual lap safety and shoulder harness belt. The law also allows in this scenario for just a lap belt to be used if the car is not equipped with the combination lap/shoulder belts or all the lap/shoulder belts are being used by other passengers under the age of sixteen.
If the child is four or over but under eight years of age, see above–same rules as the child under four but over 40lbs.
If the child is eight or over but under sixteen years of age, the child/teenager must be strapped in using the regular seatbelt(s) in the car.
While the back of the vehicle is the safer spot for any passenger, if a child must ride in the front passenger seat the rules are essentially the same as they are for the back.
Adult Seat Belts and Restraints (16 years and older)
Anyone in the front of the car, driver or passenger, must always wear seat belts. The law does not require an adult in the back of the car to wear a seat belt.
Traffic Tickets and Points for Adult and Child Seat Belt and Restraint Violations
If a driver is not wearing a seat belt, the driver may be issued a summons for driver-no seat belt. This is a zero point violation.
If an adult passenger is not wearing a seat belt, the passenger may be issued a summons for adult passenger-no seat belt. This is a zero point violation.
If any child is not properly restrained, the driver may be issued a summons for child-no seatbelt. This is a three point violation.
Will my insurance go up as a result of a seat belt ticket conviction?
With any conviction, it always depends on a few different factors, Your existing driving record, the policy, the insurance company, age, where you live, etc. That said, we absolutely have had clients who have seen rate increases from both adult and child seat belt convictions. The point differential aside, both can be considered a safety risk to an insurance company. Do not assume that you are safe from an insurance increase just because you may be dealing with one of the zero point seat belt violations.
By Scott Feifer