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DMV: Seat belt use at record level in New York

For those unfamiliar with New York's vehicle traffic laws, it's important to know that the state does not hesitate to hand out citations and assess points against motorists' driving records in the name of public safety.

In fact, New York has some of the strictest traffic laws in the United States. For example, it has been a primary offense not to wear a seat belt in the state of New York since 1985.

This means that any law enforcement official in the state can stop you solely for not wearing a seat belt, resulting in both a ticket and license penalty points.

Interestingly, as much as some people criticize New York's seat belt laws, recent evidence seems to suggest that they may be achieving their desired effect.

To illustrate, just yesterday, Barbara J. Fiala, Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles and Chair of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee declared that the rate of seat belt use here in the Empire State has once again reached a new high.

According to Fiala, the rate of seat belt usage among New Yorkers thus far in 2011 is 91 percent. This constitutes a relatively minor increase from 90 percent in 2010 and 88 percent in 2009.

"This rate of compliance is very gratifying and shows that drivers in New York State are moving in the right direction to make our roadways safer," she said. "We will not be satisfied, however, until all drivers realize that seat belt use is the single most effective way to prevent deaths and injuries in motor vehicle crashes."

It is worth noting that just last month, state officials and law enforcement concluded their annual "Click It or Ticket" campaign, which ran from May 23 through June 5. Now, in its tenth year, the program is designed to remind both motorists and vehicle occupants of the importance of wearing a seat belt through increased patrols/checkpoints.

According to officials, local police and sheriff's departments across the state issued exactly 2,857 tickets for failing to wear a seat belt during the two-week period.

Stay tuned for developments from our New York traffic law blog ...

A ticket for violating a vehicle traffic law can result in serious consequences, including fines, points against your license, increased insurance rates, license suspension/revocation or even jail time. Accordingly, if you or a loved one has received a citation, don't just dismiss it.

Instead, consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Related Resources:

State seat belt compliance at all-time high (WBNG - 12)

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