Do You Have to Wear a Seatbelt in the Back Seat in NY?


New York’s seat belt law affects all New York drivers and their passengers as part of the state’s commitment to road safety. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts have saved over 69,000 lives over five years. While New York isn’t the only state with strict seat belt laws, it’s critical for all New York motorists and their passengers, even if they’re just visiting, to understand the nuances of New York’s seat belt laws. 

At Finz & Finz, P.C., we can help if you’ve been hurt in a New York car accident. Contact us today for your free consultation with an NYC car accident lawyer. 

Do You Have to Wear a Seatbelt in the Back Seat in NY?

In New York, the answer is a resounding yes. According to NY seat belt law, all passengers must wear a seat belt regardless of their seating position. This law applies to both the front and back seats. Every adult passenger is responsible for buckling up, while drivers are responsible for ensuring all passengers under 16 are wearing theirs. 

What Are the Consequences of Not Abiding by the NYC Law?

The stricter enforcement of seat belt law in New York also means increased potential penalties for New York drivers and passengers. Law enforcement can pull you over and ticket the driver and adult passengers for not wearing seatbelts. Failure to wear a seatbelt is a primary offense in New York State, giving law enforcement the authority to pull the vehicle over and cite every seatbelt violation. These penalties include: 

  • For Adult Passengers – $50 ticket for each unbuckled adult passenger
  • For Passengers Under 16 – $25-$100 fine and three driver’s license points for each violation

When Do You Need to Wear a Seatbelt in New York?

It’s best to maximize safety and wear your seatbelt, regardless of the distance, anytime you’re in a vehicle equipped with them, including taxis and ride-sharing vehicles. 

New York’s seat belt law applies when the motor vehicle is in motion, even if it’s just a quick trip down a few blocks. Wait until all passengers buckle up to drive any distance to avoid potential penalties. While this law applies to all vehicles equipped with seat belts, there are some exceptions, such as:

  • Emergency vehicles
  • Old cars manufactured in or before 1964
  • Rural postal workers delivering mail
  • Bus riders (excluding school buses)

As for taxis and ride-sharing vehicles, the driver and any front-seat passengers 16 or older must wear seatbelts, according to The Taxi and Limousine Commission. The TLC strongly recommends all passengers, including backseat occupants, buckle up in taxis and ride-sharing cars to prevent car accident injuries. It’s the law in New York state. 

Contact Our Experienced New York City Car Accident Lawyers for Help

If you suffer serious injuries in a car accident or need assistance navigating New York traffic laws, our team of experienced New York City car accident attorneys is here to help. We’ve been helping New Yorkers for generations and are happy to meet with you about a potential car accident case. Contact Finz & Finz, P.C. today for a free, no-obligation consultation with a New York City car accident lawyer