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Buckle Up: Police Cracking Down On Unsafe Seatbelt Practices In State Parks

New York State's “BUNY in the Parks” seatbelt enforcement initiative will run from Saturday, July 13 through Monday, Aug. 12, officials say.
New York State's “BUNY in the Parks” seatbelt enforcement initiative will run from Saturday, July 13 through Monday, Aug. 12, officials say. Photo Credit: Pixabay

New York State Police will soon begin to crack down on improper and unsafe seatbelt use throughout state parks.

“BUNY in the Parks” is an enforcement and educational campaign implemented by New York State Police, the New York State Park Police and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. Its goal is to help ensure that visitors of state parks are buckling up and staying safe.

The campaign is also intended to teach the importance of properly securing younger visitors in approved child safety seats.

This year’s campaign will run from Saturday, July 13 through Monday, Aug. 12, officials say.

Although the seatbelt compliance rate has steadily increased, officials say motor vehicle crashes continue to be a leading cause of death for children. According to data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 37 percent of the 794 children that were killed in fatal crashes in 2017 were unrestrained.

The highlights of New York State’s occupant restraint laws are as follows:

  • The driver and passenger in the front seat of the vehicle must wear a seatbelt. Drivers and front-seat passengers ages 16 and up can be fined up to $50 each for an infraction.
  • Each occupant, regardless of age or seating position, must use a seatbelt when riding with a driver who has a junior license or learner’s permit.
  • Passengers under the age of 16 must wear a seatbelt or appropriate child safety restraint system that complies with their height and weight. The restraint system may be a safety seat or a booster seat used in combination with a lap and shoulder belt, depending on the child’s size.
  • Drivers must ensure that passengers under the age of 16 comply with the law. Otherwise, drivers can receive a $25-$100 fine and accrue up to three driver license penalty points for each violation.

“New York has 180 state parks for its residents and visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re driving on a highway to get to one of them or on a park road, always wear your seat belt and make sure your children are properly restrained in a seat suitable for their age and size,” said DMV Commissioner and Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Mark J.F. Schroeder. “Crashes can happen anytime and anywhere, often when you least expect them, so always be safe and keep buckled up whenever a car is in motion.”

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