Bill S7616-2009

Relates to child safety seat and seat belt requirements

Relates to child safety seat and seat belt requirements; requires that safety seats be secured according to the vehicle's manual or child restraint system manufacturer's instructions and requires that all back seat passengers use a seat belt.

Details

Actions

  • Jun 8, 2010: REPORTED AND COMMITTED TO CODES
  • Apr 26, 2010: REFERRED TO TRANSPORTATION

Votes

VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Transportation - Jun 8, 2010
Ayes (16): Dilan, Stavisky, Savino, Perkins, Addabbo, Squadron, Diaz, Valesky, Foley, Fuschillo, Libous, Robach, Larkin, Lanza, Young, Volker
Ayes W/R (2): Aubertine, Nozzolio
Excused (1): Johnson O

Memo

 BILL NUMBER:  S7616

TITLE OF BILL :

An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to safety seat and seat belt requirements

PURPOSE OF THE BILL :

This bill would require that all back seat passengers use a seat belt. It would also correct other oversights in current law, including one governing the use of booster seats on school buses, which would make New York eligible to receive approximately $1 million in federal highway safety grants.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS :

Section 1 of this bill would amend Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) § 1229-c(1)(a) to permit the securing of child restraint seats in accordance with the vehicle's manual or child restraint system manufacturer's instructions, and removes an exemption in the seat belt law which permits children under the age of 4 and weighing over 40 pounds to be secured in the rear seat by only the use of a lap safety belt if the vehicle is not equipped with combination lap and shoulder harness belts, or if all such combinations are being used to restrain other child passengers.

Section 2 of this bill would amend VTL § 1229-c(1 )(b) to remove the above-referenced exemption currently provided for child passengers over the age of 4 and under the age of 8.

Section 3 of this bill would amend VTL § 1 229-c(1)(c) to remove the age restrictions for the use of seat belts by rear seat passengers, thereby requiring that all rear seat passengers use a seat belt.

Section 4 of this bill would amend VTL §1229-c(2)(b) to remove the exemptions for front seat child passengers, as was done for rear seat passengers in bill section 1.

Section 5 of the bill would amend VTL §1229-c(13) to provide that a child between the ages of 4 and 7 being transported in a school bus that does not meet federal safety standards must be restrained in a booster seat.

Section 6 of the bill provides that it would take effect on the November 1 subsequent to it becoming law.

EXISTING LAW :

Currently, only back seat passengers under the age of 16 are required to be restrained in a safety belt. Children between the ages of 4 and 6 who are passengers in a school bus must be restrained in a booster seat. Current law permits children under the age of 4 and weighing over 40 pounds to be secured by only the use of a lap safety belt if the vehicle is not equipped with combination lap and shoulder harness belts, or if all such combinations are being used to restrain other child passengers.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :

Part of this bill, requiring all rear seat passengers to use a seat belt, was initially included in S.3623/A.8612 in 2009. However, although S.3623/A.8612, which raised the age of children required to use a booster seat, became law, the seat belt provision was deleted from the final version of the bill. STATEMENT IN SUPPORT :

This bill will help reduce the number of serious injuries and fatalities resulting from motor vehicle crashes. A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released in June 2009 states: "An additional 4,152 lives would have been saved in 2008 if all unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants age 5 and older involved in fatal crashes had worn their seatbelts." An analysis of New York State by NHTSA indicates that 101 additional lives could have been saved with seatbelt use by all occupants. Requiring all occupants to wear safety belts will reduce the number of fatal and serious injuries.

The amendment to VTL § 1229-c(13) is necessary to correct an oversight in Chapter 405 of the Laws of 2009, which provided that children who are between the ages of 4 and 7 and are passengers in most motor vehicles must be restrained in a booster seat. Chapter 405 failed to include such children who are passengers in school buses that do not meet federal safety standards.

The amendments to VTL § 1229-c(1) and (2) reflect changes in the availability and price of child restraint systems since the last revision of these subdivisions. There no longer exists a justification for the exemptions from the requirement of child passengers under 4 and weighing over 40 pounds from being restrained in booster seats. According to NHTSA, seats that are capable of fitting children weighing over forty pounds are widely available and their cost has decreased since the exemptions in the current law were enacted. These seats are secured according to the vehicle's manual or the manufacturer's specification, and are commonly referred to as Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH). It should be noted that failure to enact the amendments to these subdivisions and to subdivision 13 of section 1229-c will preclude DMV from receiving approximately $1 million in incentive grants from the National Highway Safety Administration to DMV for child passenger safety programs.

BUDGET IMPLICATIONS :

The amendments to the booster seats on school buses provision and the elimination of the seat belt exemption for children would make DMV eligible for a highway safety grant of approximately $1 million from the National Highway Safety Administration. This would not have a fiscal impact on school districts, as a review has indicated that the vehicles at issue already have boosters installed.

EFFECTIVE DATE : The bill would take effect on the first day of November after becoming law.

Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7616 IN SENATE April 26, 2010 ___________
Introduced by Sen. DILAN -- (at request of the Department of Motor Vehi- cles) -- 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 safety seat and seat belt requirements THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Paragraph (a) of subdivision 1 of section 1229-c of the vehicle and traffic law, as amended by chapter 18 of the laws of 2005, is amended to read as follows: (a) all back seat passengers of such vehicle under the age of four are restrained in a specially designed seat which meets the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards set forth in 49 C.F.R. 571.213 and which is either permanently affixed or is affixed to such vehicle by a safety belt, or [in] WHICH IS SECURED ACCORDING TO THE VEHICLE'S MANUAL OR CHILD RESTRAINT SYSTEM MANUFACTURER'S INSTRUCTIONS. IN the event that the weight of such passenger under the age of four exceeds forty pounds, such passenger [may] MUST be PROPERLY restrained [(i)] in an appropriate child restraint system as defined in subdivision four of this section [used with combination lap safety and shoulder harness belts or (ii) by a lap safety belt in the event such vehicle is not equipped with combi- nation lap safety and shoulder harness belts or all the combination lap safety and shoulder harness belts are being used to properly restrain other passengers who are under the age of sixteen] AND WHICH IS SECURED ACCORDING TO THE VEHICLE'S MANUAL OR CHILD RESTRAINT SYSTEM MANUFACTUR- ER'S INSTRUCTIONS; S 2. Paragraph (b) of subdivision 1 of section 1229-c of the vehicle and traffic law, as amended by chapter 405 of the laws of 2009, is amended to read as follows: (b) all back seat passengers of such vehicle who are age four or older but under age eight [(i)] are PROPERLY restrained in an appropriate child restraint system as defined in subdivision four of this section [used with combination lap and shoulder harness belts or (ii) are restrained in a lap safety belt in the event such vehicle is not
equipped with combination lap safety and shoulder harness belts or all the combination lap safety and shoulder harness belts are being used to properly restrain other passengers who are under the age of sixteen]
AND WHICH IS SECURED ACCORDING TO THE VEHICLE MANUAL'S OR CHILD RESTRAINT SYSTEM MANUFACTURER'S INSTRUCTIONS; or S 3. Paragraph (c) of subdivision 1 of section 1229-c of the vehicle and traffic law, as amended by chapter 18 of the laws of 2005, is amended to read as follows: (c) in the case of any other back seat passenger [under the age of sixteen], he or she is restrained by a safety belt approved by the commissioner. S 4. Paragraph (b) of subdivision 2 of section 1229-c of the vehicle and traffic law, as amended by chapter 18 of the laws of 2005, is amended to read as follows: (b) if they are under the age of four, by a specially designed seat which is either permanently affixed or affixed to such vehicle by a safety belt as required by subdivision one of this section[, or in]. IN the event that the weight of such passenger under the age of four exceeds forty pounds, such passenger [may] MUST be PROPERLY restrained [(i)] in an appropriate child restraint system as defined in subdivision four of this section [used with combination lap safety and shoulder harness belts or (ii) by a lap safety belt in the event such vehicle is not equipped with combination lap safety and shoulder harness belts or all the combination lap safety and shoulder harness belts are being used to properly restrain other passengers who are under the age of sixteen] AND WHICH IS SECURED ACCORDING TO THE VEHICLE'S MANUAL OR CHILD RESTRAINT SYSTEM MANUFACTURER'S INSTRUCTIONS; or S 5. Paragraph (c) of subdivision 2 of section 1229-c of the vehicle and traffic law, as amended by chapter 405 of the laws of 2009, is amended to read as follows: (c) if they are age four or older but under age eight, [(i) are] SUCH PASSENGERS MUST BE PROPERLY restrained in an appropriate child restraint system as defined in subdivision four of this section [used with combi- nation lap safety and shoulder harness belts or (ii) are restrained in a lap safety belt in the event such vehicle is not equipped with combina- tion lap safety and shoulder harness belts or all the combination lap safety and shoulder harness belts are being used to properly restrain other passengers who are under the age of sixteen] AND WHICH IS SECURED ACCORDING TO THE VEHICLE'S MANUAL OR CHILD RESTRAINT SYSTEM MANUFACTUR- ER'S INSTRUCTIONS. S 6. Subdivision 13 of section 1229-c of the vehicle and traffic law, as amended by chapter 20 of the laws of 2008, is amended to read as follows: 13. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision four of this section, no person shall operate a school bus for which there are no applicable federal school bus safety standards unless all occupants are restrained by a safety belt approved by the commissioner or, regarding occupants age four or older but under age [seven] EIGHT, are restrained pursuant to subdivision one or two of this section. S 7. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed- ing the date on which it shall have become a law.

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