Requires the use of seatbelts by volunteer firefighters; provides exception for vehicles which do not have restraint systems provided by the manufacturer or to volunteer firefighters not seated within the confines of the vehicle or emergency medical personnel providing patient care in the rear compartment of an ambulance.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to the use of seatbelts by volunteer firefighters
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF THE BILL: This legislation relates to the use of seatbelts in emergency vehicles owned or operated by a volunteer fire company or volunteer ambulance service.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 of the bill adds a new subdivision 14 to § 1229-c of the Vehicle & Traffic Law to prohibit the operation of an emergency vehicle owned or operated by a volunteer fire company or volunteer ambulance service as defined by section 100 of the General Municipal Law unless all passengers seated in the vehicle are utilizing safety belts or restraint systems as provided by the vehicle manufacturer. This subdivision shall not apply: to vehicles which do not have restraint systems provided by the manufacturer, for volunteer firefighters not seated within the confines of the vehicle or to emergency medical personnel administering medical treatment in accordance with applicable patient care standards or guidelines established pursuant to Article 30 of the Public Health Law to a patient in the rear compartment of an ambulance. It prohibits a claim for benefits filed pursuant to the volunteer firefighters' benefit law or the volunteer ambulance workers' benefit from being denied solely on the basis of failure to comply with the provisions of this subdivision.
Section 2 of the bill is the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: In 1984, NYS adopted § 1229-c of the NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law. This law sets forth the rules for operation of vehicles that have safety or seat belts. In general, this law requires operators and passengers of "motor vehicles" to be restrained by safety belts. However, certain vehicles are exempt from the law's requirements. Under 1229-c, "authorized emergency vehicles" are exempt from the definition of the term "motor vehicle", These vehicles were excluded from the requirements of § 1229-c since the operators of these vehicles need to perform their duties in an unhampered fashion. The term "authorized emergency vehicle" is defined under § 101 of the Vehicle & Traffic Law and is defined to include fire and ambulance vehicles. As a result, fire and ambulance vehicles are exempt from the requirement to use safety or seatbelts.
The single largest cause of Volunteer Firefighter and EMS responder death is vehicle accidents to and from an incident scene. The largest contributor to those deaths is failure to wear seat belts, Volunteers would like the current exemption removed from the law making New York law consistent with the training and operational procedures currently in place to promote seat belt use.
Use of seat belts promotes safety and saves lives. Since buckling a seat belt takes just a few seconds, fire and ambulance vehicles should be required to use them,. This bill is strongly supported by the Fireman's Association of the State of New York,
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2011-12: S.4765A Passed Senate 2011; remained in Cmte 2012 2009-10: A.6765/S.3671 2008-07: S.7478
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3733 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 13, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. FLANAGAN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Transportation AN ACT to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to the use of seatbelts by volunteer firefighters THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 1229-c of the vehicle and traffic law is amended by adding a new subdivision 14 to read as follows: 14. NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISIONS OF SUBDIVISION FOUR OF THIS SECTION, NO PERSON SHALL OPERATE AN EMERGENCY VEHICLE OWNED OR OPERATED BY A VOLUNTEER FIRE COMPANY OR VOLUNTEER AMBULANCE SERVICE AS DEFINED BY SECTION ONE HUNDRED OF THE GENERAL MUNICIPAL LAW UNLESS ALL PASSENGERS SEATED IN THE VEHICLE ARE UTILIZING SAFETY BELTS OR RESTRAINT SYSTEMS AS PROVIDED BY THE VEHICLE MANUFACTURER. THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL NOT APPLY TO VEHICLES WHICH DO NOT HAVE RESTRAINT SYSTEMS PROVIDED BY THE MANUFAC- TURER OR TO VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS NOT SEATED WITHIN THE CONFINES OF THE VEHICLE OR EMERGENCY MEDICAL PERSONNEL PROVIDING PATIENT CARE IN THE REAR COMPARTMENT OF AN AMBULANCE PROVIDED THAT SUCH PERSONNEL ARE PROVIDING CARE IN ACCORDANCE WITH APPLICABLE PATIENT CARE STANDARDS OR GUIDELINES ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO ARTICLE THIRTY OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH LAW. A CLAIM FOR BENEFITS FILED PURSUANT TO THE VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS' BENEFIT LAW OR THE VOLUNTEER AMBULANCE WORKERS' BENEFIT LAW SHALL NOT BE DENIED SOLELY ON THE BASIS OF FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD08936-01-3