Seat Belts and Car Seats
New York State law requires seat belt use for all front-seat occupants. Over the past 25 years, New York's seat belt use rate has risen from 12% to over 75% today. Each and every year more than 200 lives are saved and over 1500 serious injuries prevented as a result of the increased use of seat belts. Still more lives could be saved if all New Yorkers use their seat belts for every trip. Some highlights of New York State occupant restraint law are:
TIP: A SEAT BELT FOR EACH PASSENGER IS ESSENTIAL
CHILDREN IN SEAT BELTS
Sear belts play a vital role in protecting your vehicle's occupants. Most children weighing 80 pounds or more can safely use lap/shoulder belts. They must be able to sit straight up against thee vehicle's seat back with their knees bent comfortably over the edge of the seat. The shoulder belt should rest snugly across the child’s chest and shoulder (collar bone), without touching the throat. The lap belt should fit low and tight across the upper thighs. If the seat belt does not fit properly, then your child needs a booster seat.
TIP: NEVER PUT THE CHILD'S SHOULDER BELT UNDER THE ARMS OR BEHIND THE BACK.
SEAT BELTS ON SCHOOL BUSES
New York State law requires that large school buses manufactured after July 1, 1987, be equipped with seat belts. Children under the age of four riding on school buses must ride in federally certified child safety seats. School bus drivers are required to wear their seat belts. Each school district sets it own policy on seat belt use.
WHY YOU NEED TO WEAR A SEAT BELT
If worn properly, seat belts will absorb the force of a crash impact and hold you securely in place, reducing your risk of injury. Scat belts are designed to work with the wearer sitting upright. They should be comfortable and allow free movement until they are needed to protect you. A seat belt too loose or too tight cannot provide full protection. Lap belts should be snug across your hip bones and the shoulder belt should be low on your chest and shoulder, away from your face or neck. If not worn properly, seat belts could cause internal injuries in a crash.
TIP: DO NOT ALLOW YOUR SEAT BELT TO BECOME SLACK.
Pregnant women should always wear seat belts to protect both the expectant mother and her unborn child. Make sure the lap belt is low on the hips, under the unborn child and the shoulder belt is resting across the chest and shoulder.
If a physical condition inhibits the proper use of a seat belt, you may be exempt provided your physician certifies your condition and exemption in writing. Certification must be on the physicians letterhead and carried with you when you travel. Regardless of physical problems, a seat belt normally offers you the best protection.
Air bags provide an extra degree of protection against crash injuries. They are meant to work with seat belts, not replace them.
An air bag protects a front-seat occupant in a head-on crash by inflating upon impact and cushioning the occupant from colliding with the steering wheel, dashboard or windshield. The combination of seat belts and air bags offers maximum protection for motorists because they help the driver maintain control of the vehicle and help to avoid secondary collisions.
Air bags rapidly deploy from the steering wheel and/or dashboard. Most adults who are properly buckled up are safer in a vehicle with air bags, but the force of an air bag deploying may injure those who sit too close to it. You should sit with at least 10 inches between the center of your breastbone and the cover of your vehicle's air bag. Also, place your hands on the steering wheel at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions to keep them out of the way in the event of air bag deployment.
AIR BAG SAFETY POINTS
TIP: NEVER PUT AN INFANT IN A REAR-FACING CHILD SAFETY SENT IN THE FRONT SENT OF A VEHICLE WITH A PASSENGER AIR BAG.
KNOW THE LAW
New York State law requires all motor vehicle passengers riding in the front seat, regardless of age, to use appropriate restraints. Passengers under age 4 must ride in federally-certified child safety seats. All children under age 16 must use approved safety seats or seat belts.
The Governor's Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) maintains a registry of certified child passenger safety technicians, instructors, and seat belt check events in New York State
Source: Portions taken from New York State Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Seat Belt Law Brochure