Not Wearing a Seatbelt in New York Could Cost You
No one enjoys seeing the flashing blue lights in the rearview mirror. You know it will be costly, whatever the fine or penalty. Not only will it cost you money, but depending on your driving history, it could also cost you your license. In addition, it might hurt your personal injury case if you were in a car accident when you weren’t wearing your seatbelt, while dramatically increasing the severity of any injuries you sustain.
It’s important to immediately contact a skilled and experienced car accident lawyer in New York to protect your rights and your license. But you must act fast, because you have limited time to respond to the ticket you’ve received. If you don’t respond by either paying the fine and admitting guilt, or by challenging the ticket, you could have a warrant issued for your arrest. Ignoring a seatbelt ticket in New York is a terrible idea. You have options, but it’s important to speak with a trusted advisor today to know what those options are and how to best proceed.
New York Seatbelt Laws
New York has strong seatbelt laws. According to the New York DMV, drivers and all passengers seated in the vehicle’s front are required by law to wear seatbelts. If the driver has a learner’s permit, then every person in the vehicle must wear a seatbelt, even those in the back. In addition, New York law also requires every passenger under the age of 16 to wear a seatbelt wherever they are seated in the vehicle.
In most states, receiving a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt is called a secondary offense. This means you can only receive a ticket for not wearing your seatbelt or for a passenger not wearing theirs if the police pull you over for another offense first, like speeding. However, New York is different. New York is a primary offense state. This means the police can pull you over if they spot you or a passenger not wearing a seatbelt. You can receive a ticket which would include a fine and up to three points on your license.
As a driver, you are also responsible for the safety of all your passengers. This includes requiring them to wear seatbelts. If you don’t, you can be pulled over and receive a ticket for a passenger not wearing their seatbelt.
You are also responsible for making sure all children under the age of eight are secured in a child restraint system. New York does not specify the type or manufacturer you must use for the child restraint system but it must be appropriate for the child’s age and weight. Failure to properly secure children in a car can result in severe fines and penalties.
Consequences for Not Wearing a Seatbelt
If you don’t wear a seatbelt, that comes with a $50 fine. You, as the driver, could also face fines of $25 to $100 for each passenger who is not wearing a seatbelt.
It’s important that you, as the driver, make sure your passengers are wearing their seatbelts, because drivers are considered responsible for passenger safety. Besides getting a ticket, you can receive points on your license for every passenger not wearing a seatbelt. As an example. if you’re pulled over for not wearing your seatbelt and a passenger in the front seat is also not wearing theirs, you face up to six points on your license for that single traffic stop.
If you’re transporting a child under the age of eight, the severity of the charges can increase if they aren’t properly restrained. You could face child endangerment charges for not properly securing the child in a child restraint system.
The points on your license can add up quickly, and can result in a loss of your privilege to drive. In New York, the state can take away your license when you receive 11 points in an 18-month period. Having four passengers in your car not wearing seatbelts puts you over that amount, and your license could be lost from a single incident. Fines, penalties, and points aside, getting a ticket also increases your insurance costs. Each ticket you receive is reported to your insurance company. They will not hesitate to raise your rates.
If you were ticketed for seatbelt violations, it’s important to have a trusted New York seatbelt lawyer by your side to protect your rights, your license, and keep your insurance rates down. But it’s important you don’t delay, because you have limited time to respond.
New York seatbelt use rates have increased from 57 percent in 1985 to 93 percent in 2018—3 percent better than the nation as a whole. At the same time, the number of unrestrained motor vehicle passengers who died in car accidents is on the decline. Seat belts save lives.
Steps to Take After Getting a Ticket
Don’t ignore the ticket. You are limited in the amount of time you have to take action, so you must act quickly. When you receive a seatbelt ticket, if you pay the fine, you’re admitting guilt. If you’re close to 11 points on your license, this isn’t the best move to make. You could risk losing your license.
What you should do instead is contact an attorney who can fight your ticket or reduce the severity of the fine and/or other penalties. You may have been justified in not wearing a seatbelt when you were pulled over; however, you won’t know for sure until you speak with an experienced New York City seatbelt lawyer.
The clock is ticking, so contact an attorney you trust as soon as possible after a seatbelt citation, or an accident in which you weren’t wearing one. Contact The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond today or dial (718) 588-2000 to schedule a free consultation and learn if we can help you.