State police and state park police are stepping up seatbelt enforcement within state parks through Aug. 13, authorities say.
The program, known as “BUNY (Buckle Up New York) in the Parks,” is described by police as an “ enforcement and educational campaign to ensure that visiting motorists and their passengers properly buckle-up their seatbelts while traveling inside state parks, and to teach the importance of properly securing our youngest visitors in approved child safety seats.”
Authorities said the initiative comes at one of the peak times for travel to state parks.
Increasing seatbelt use and adherence to proper child restraint laws is one of the most effective ways to reduce crash-related injuries and fatalities, police said.
Authorities said they issued more than 43,089 tickets during last year’s BUNY campaign, including 929 for child restraint violations and 1,921 for adult seatbelt violations.
Police said the seatbelt compliance rate in New York state, the first state to enact a seatbelt law in 1985, had increased to 93 percent in 2017, but motor vehicle crashes continue to be a leading cause of death for children. Authorities said the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reported in 2016 that 35 percent of children under 13 killed in car crashes were not restrained with seat belts, car seats or booster seats.
Highlights of New York State’s occupant restraint law:
• In the front seat, the driver and each passenger must wear a seat belt, with one person per belt. The driver and front-seat passengers aged 16 or older can be fined up to $50 each for failure to buckle up.
• Every occupant, regardless of age or seating position, must use a safety restraint when riding with driver who has a junior license or learner permit.
• Each passenger under age 16 must wear a seat belt or use an appropriate child safety restraint system. The restraint system must comply with the child height and weight recommendations determined by the manufacturer.
• Depending on the size of the child, the restraint system may be a safety seat or a booster seat used in combination with a lap and shoulder belt.
• The driver must make sure that each passenger under age 16 obeys the law. The driver can be fined $25 to $100 and receive up to three driver license penalty points for each violation.
The enforcement effort is in partnership with the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.